128909chinese-chicken-salad-with-red-chile-peanut-dressing https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/chinese-chicken-salad-with-red-chile-peanut-dressing/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/IMG_6502-e1660353638467-1024x893-527x460.jpg

Just when you thought the worst was behind us, it is hot, hot, hot again. Consider this an excuse not to cook, and I’m writing all of you a permission note right now. Keep it cool this week and make simple meals. Don’t heat your house up. Here’s what to make when the stove and oven are off limits.

For breakfast, make overnight oats or some chilly chia pudding. Do this before you go to bed and you’ll have a bracing breakfast waiting for you in the morning. Other cool ideas: fresh fruit and yogurt, cold cereal and milk, or a smoothie. If you insist on something hot, microwave eggs in a cup or make breakfast burritos in the microwave. Remember, no stove! 

Use your Instant Pot and hard boil some eggs. You can make egg salad for lunch, or toss them onto a cold Cobb or Nicoise salad. Use some for snacks and don’t forget about deviled eggs. You can also use your Instant Pot to poach chicken breasts. Add 1 cup of water to your Instant Pot and place fresh chicken breasts on a trivet. Season with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder. Pressure cook on high, 10  minutes for breasts under 2-inch thickness, 15 minutes for over 2-inch thickness. Let pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then carefully turn valve to venting. Remove chicken, then shred or cube. Store covered and refrigerated. 

Make chicken salad with diced celery and mayo. You can add in grapes, chopped nuts, or onions, if you like. I like to use Vegenaise and add celery, scallions, fresh cilantro,1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. This is Gwyneth Paltrow’s Moroccan Chicken Salad recipe and it’s delicious.  

For dinner, try this Chinese Chicken Salad with Red Chile Peanut Dressing. Cool and refreshing, it’s crunchy and filling, but nice and light, making it perfect for this hotter weather we’ve been having. To keep this easy, a rotisserie chicken is a godsend, especially when you’re trying not to heat things up. You can get at least two meals from one chicken, maybe three, depending on your needs. The chicken is easier to handle when it’s warm, so break your chicken down and pull all the meat off the bones as soon as you get home. Transfer to a covered container and store in the fridge.

Get in the habit of using a liquid measuring cup to make dressing. Measure your 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar first, then add the rest of the dressing ingredients as I reordered below. This lets you measure all of the tablespoon ingredients, and then measure all of the teaspoon ones. It speeds things up and also lessens the chance of a mistake if you get interrupted when you are cooking. After you measure the last of the measuring spoon ingredients, measure the 1/2 cup of canola oil into the liquid measure, then whisk and pour. I reduced the oil to 1/3 cup when I made this and also only used about half of the dressing. If you do this, too, you’ll have enough dressing left over for another salad. I didn’t want the dressing to be spicy, so I left the chipotle pepper purée out and also swapped in sugar snap peas in place of the snow peas, which gave a nice sweetness to the salad. I added some diced Persian cucumbers for crunch and used Thai basil from my garden instead of using mint. 

Quench and replenish with a homemade All-Natural Sports Drink that has no processed ingredients, artificial sweeteners or food dyes. Not just for long, hot summers, it will come in handy for fall sports season, too. Adjust any of the ingredients to your liking. And think cool thoughts. We’ll be knee deep in apples and pumpkins before you know it. 

Chinese Chicken Salad with Red Chile Peanut Dressing



Measure vinegar, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, chipotle pepper purée and canola oil into a liquid measuring cup. Whisk together then season with salt and pepper, to taste. 

Combine cabbage, lettuce, carrots, snow peas, cilantro, and green onion in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving platter or individual bowls, then top with shredded chicken, chopped peanuts and mint. Drizzle with chili oil, if desired. Garnish with lime halves. 

 – adapted from recipe by Bobby Flay

All-Natural Sports Drink

Combine coconut water and fruit juice in a 2-quart pitcher. Stir in honey and sea salt until dissolved. Add water and lemon or lime juice and stir. Serve chilled.

– recipe by Samantha Skaggs

128903residents-get-a-say-in-ridgefield-park-planning https://blogs.columbian.com/all-politics-is-local/residents-get-a-say-in-ridgefield-park-planning/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/ridgefield-1024x887-531x460.png

If you’ve ever wanted to have a say in how a new community park is developed, now is your chance. The city of Ridgefield launched a community survey on Aug. 5 for a new park currently being planned.

The city council and parks board are currently developing a high-level concept plan for Boyse Park, a 9-acre community park off North 32nd Avenue near North Pioneer Canyon Drive.

Survey questions include what would make the park more accessible, primary reasons for visiting a park, preference for amenities like barbeque grills, bike racks, parking, picnic shelter, trails, etc., among others.

The park land was acquired in 2020 and 2021 and sits alongside a tributary of Gee Creek. The site currently includes informal foot and mountain bike trails. There have also been preliminary discussions about expanding the trails and adding a pump track or other cycle-focused features to the park.

Master planning concepts will be taken to the parks board and city council for feedback with the final plan to be approved by the council.  Additionally, staff will seek funding opportunities, including grants and donations, to keep building the park in phases.

According to the city, potential uses for this park are constrained by the topography and proximity to wetlands and Gee Creek and some of the park property includes steep slopes greater than 15 percent. This will limit the potential park uses being considered for development.

The survey will remain open through Sept. 2. For more information or a link to the survey, go to https://bit.ly/3AjQxw0.


128897local-gop-groups-begin-to-unify-behind-kent https://blogs.columbian.com/all-politics-is-local/10310-2/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Joe-Kent-510x460.jpg

Results from Washington’s 3rd Congressional District primary election show that Southwest Washington Republicans were divided in who they want as a representative for the region.

Now, local GOP groups are coalescing behind Joe Kent as he faces Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in the November general election.

The Clark County Republican Women’s executive board announced Wednesday they intend on asking its members to endorse Joe Kent at their next meeting. Liz Pike, the group’s president and a former state legislator, said supporting Kent will give Republicans a chance to gain a majority in Congress.

“We have a real opportunity to retire Nancy Pelosi as Speak of the U.S. House. We will achieve this by holding the Third Congressional District seat firmly in Republican hands,” she said in a statement.

This initiative comes at the heels of the Clark County GOP’s announcement to endorse the candidate Tuesday evening. Members rose to their feet and whooped as Kent touted his triumph over Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who conceded her race for reelection earlier that day.

“I’m very honored my opponents conceded and they are starting to rally around this effort, because this isn’t just about me. This is about conservatives and Republicans taking back out country,” Kent said before the crowd.

Four Republican candidates crowded the race, leading to vote splitting.

Districtwide results as of Thursday afternoon illustrate a large distribution between Herrera Beutler, Kent and Heidi St. John.

Kent gathered 49,887 votes out of 219,039 tallied ballots, or 22.78 percent of the vote, and the incumbent had 48,828 votes, or 22.29 percent. St. John was the third highest Republican vote-getter with 35,054 votes, or 16 percent. Republicans Leslie French and state Rep. Vicki Kraft collectively amassed more than 8,000 votes.

Election results showed Perez with 67,937 votes, or 31.02 percent of the vote. As the sole viable Democrat in the race, Perez quickly gained traction among elected officials and local Democratic party organizations.

Both the Kent and Perez campaign said they need to connect with voters who backed Herrera Beutler if they are going to make meaningful progress in their campaigns. And the candidates also claimed they are already seeing the incumbent’s supporters joining their respective squads.

128884build-your-bones https://blogs.columbian.com/sherri-mcmillan/2022/08/11/build-your-bones/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/square-drill-c-1024x569-600x333.jpg

Bone density decreases at a rate of 1% per year after the age of 35 and bones can become brittle, porous and weak. For a woman, the first 5 to 10 years after menopause, annual bone loss increases further to average 2% loss per year.

Although women suffer from osteoporosis to a far greater magnitude than men, men are still susceptible from suffering from this health concern. This bone loss results in an increased risk for fractures to the forearm, lumbar, wrist, vertebrae, and hip regions. 

Here are some alarming stats that should concern everyone of all ages:

50% of all adults 50 years and older are at risk of breaking a bone and should be concerned about bone health.

50% of women and 25% of men will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis.

A woman’s risk of fracture is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.

Every year women have more osteoporotic fractures than stroke, heart attack and breast cancer combined.

A man is more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than he is to get prostate cancer.

Half of the victims admitted to hospitals due to hip fractures because of osteoporosis never go home again…and 24% of hip fracture patients 50 years and over die from complications within a year!

Bone health starts in our early years and it’s never too late to start a program focused on improving your bone density. Diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle are keys to preventing and managing the disease. 

Here are some key exercise tips for building your bones:

Incorporate Variable Impact

This refers to exposing your body to a bit of impact here and there and is important because to maintain muscle mass and bone density, you need some stress on the bone.

You may have heard many people complain that high-impact exercise really bothers their joints, specifically their back, knees, or feet. For many people, high impact activity may not be the activity of choice, however, in your program you will want to ensure that you do expose your muscles and bones to some impact. 

So, for example, if you’re a swimmer, since your body weight is supported by the water, you’re going to want to compliment this with an activity like walking. Swimming is a great activity, but studies have shown that it is not as beneficial for bone density as medium-impact activities like walking or high-impact activities like volleyball.

Even though swimming is better than no exercise, it should be augmented with strength training or a type of activity that will provide a bit more impact ie. walking, stairclimbing, hiking, fitness classes etc. 

Add Impact Activities Slowly

If your body isn’t conditioned to high impact activities, you should progress gradually.

If you’d like to try jogging, start with a walk/run program where you may start with walking for 4 minutes and running for only 1 minute at a time and progress from there. This will be sufficient to provide positive results to bone density. Only increase as your body can tolerate the impact forces and feel free to maintain a walk/run program forever versus forcing your body to endure sustained running if it doesn’t feel good on your body.

You may also consider water running in a pool as your mode of impact running which is gentler on your bones and joints due to the buoyancy of the water.

If your goal is to perform high impact movements like Jump Squats consider starting with jumping on a trampoline or BOSU platform.

Build Your Bones

Incorporate Strength Training

Strengthening your muscles puts stress on the bone and helps to build and preserve bone density. Try to lift heavy weights two to three times per week. 

Build Your Bones Build Your Bones Build Your Bones

Incorporate Agility Training

As we get older, our fast twitch muscle fibers atrophy at a higher rate which is why someone who is older moves more slowly. To slow this rate of decline to the muscles and subsequently the bone, a program that includes agility training is important. This will keep you mobile and agile as you age.

Build Your Bones

You know what they say “Use it or lose it!” Find a tennis court or set up cones in a square and move your body quickly forwards, backwards, side to side and all around the space.  

Be sure to discuss your plan with your physician and ask for further advice on nutrition and supplements than can help bone health. 

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

128873resource-guarding-in-multi-cat-homes https://blogs.columbian.com/cat-tales/2022/08/07/resource-guarding-in-multi-cat-homes/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Guard-kitty-600x450.jpg

Does the sound of hissing and the sight of swatting occur all too frequently in YOUR home? If so, you’re not alone. More multi-cat households than you can shake a paw at experience this phenomenon as well. The term for such unwelcome behavior is resource guarding, and, not surprisingly, much of it is grounded in kitty cat insecurity.

Resource Guarding in Multi-Cat Homes

Cats who once spent an extended period of time either on the streets or in shelters before being rescued — particularly those deprived of food in the past — are most likely to resource guard in their adoptive homes. Why? Because, in spite of all of the food available to them, they still perceive that there’s little or none.


Sometimes a resident cat will resource guard when a new cat enters her established household. Or vice-versa. A new cat may exhibit the same tendency if she’s either been abandoned or deprived of adequate food and water in the past. Others may resource guard when they feel stressed by such changes in their homes as new people entering the picture (roommates or spouses) or by familiar people exiting the picture (children leaving for college or divorces).

Resource Guarding in Multi-Cat Homes

What then, is included in the list of “items” stressed kitties guard so fiercely? Food and water bowls, toys, games and cat tunnels, litter boxes, cat scratchers and scratching posts, cat trees and napping spots, and purr-ticularly people. And the ways they display their displeasure include hissing to warn the other cat(s) to stay away, swatting at the other cat(s) and sometimes their guardians to stay away, literally blocking the other cat or cats’ access to anything they consider theirs, scratching various items as a way of “claiming” them, and spraying or urinating on some items and even people.


Should you notice your kitty guarding her resources from a new feline addition to “her” family, stop it early to both prevent her behaviour from escalating and to ensure there’s harmony between all parties in your household. Co4nsider, then, these suggestions. Put down a food bowl for each cat before mealtimes. Remove the lids from all of the litter boxes to prevent one cat from trapping the other inside them. Set up several litter box areas to give the bullied cat other options if your cat is guarding one area. Spend equal quality one-on-one time with each cat and engage them in stimulating playtime activities together. Supply them with enough toys, games and scratching posts, cat trees, cubbyholes and cat beds so that each cat can lay claim to her own. Experiment with several natural flower essences known to reduce stress and encourage calm. Shower your cats with effusive praise and reward them with high value treats whenever they’re together without either bullying or guarding. And, as a last resort, discuss the matter with your vet to see if your cats’ anxieties can be reduced by medication.00000000000000000000

128865grilled-chicken-fajitas https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/grilled-chicken-fajitas/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/IMG_6482-e1659774974601-1024x889-530x460.jpg

Are we having fun yet? This was one of my dad’s favorite phrases. Secret code for those of us in the know, it was his way of saying, “Yep, this is a really good time.” Usually he was talking to one of his grandsons, fishing rod in hand, bent over so he could reach a small ear. I can still see the twinkle in his eye. My dad was a hard worker. Always on call, he literally worked around the clock. But he also knew how to have fun. He’d go fishing or play golf any chance he’d get. He’d hop in the car and take a spur of the moment road trip, especially if it meant seeing his kids or grandkids.

Have some fun yourself this week. If you haven’t made s’mores yet this summer, do it now. You can celebrate National S’mores Day today, or wait until this weekend, but don’t miss the chance to roast marshmallows under the stars at least once this summer. Why not plan to make dinner outside, too? Even if your campfire is your backyard grill, have some fun and make these Grilled Chicken Fajitas. Seasoned with Southwestern spice and a lime-infused marinade and served with sautéed peppers and caramelized onions, they’re prefect for family sharing. You can do the small bit of prep ahead of time and of course, plan to make extra. Leftovers are great for salads, tacos, burritos, pizza, sandwiches, or quesadillas.

I made fajitas over a campfire once when we lived in Colorado. We took a day trip to Estes Park and I took along marinated chicken, sliced peppers and onions, a package of flour tortillas, and of course, all the trimmings. Once the fire got going, I cooked the peppers and onions in a big cast iron pan. As soon as they were cooked, I used the same pan to cook the chicken. I’m not sure if it was the fresh mountain air, the smoke from the grill, or the special way I seasoned the chicken, but this meal is one that everyone remembers and talks about to this day. 

For this recipe, the chicken breasts need to be pounded to an even thickness before marinating. This helps to tenderize the chicken and ensure that it cooks evenly. You can use chicken tenderloins to skip this step and save time. The seasoning mix is quick and easy to make and uses spices you already have on hand. Marinate your chicken overnight, or do this early in the day. You can make the peppers outdoors on the grill in a cast iron pan, which is great with all the hot weather we’ve been having. They can also be made ahead of time and reheated in the microwave if that works better for you.

Served with guacamole, sour cream and salsa, these fajitas are smoky and delicious. They will also be memorable. Are we having fun yet? 

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

for chicken:

for peppers:

for serving:


Place chicken breasts in a 1 gallon zip-top bag. Using a meat mallet, pound to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Place bag in a medium bowl or on a sheet pan.

Measure vegetable oil into a Pyrex liquid measuring cup. Add garlic, lime zest, cumin, oregano, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika and salt, then stir until mixed together. Pour marinade over pounded chicken and seal bag shut, releasing any air in bag. Using your hands, massage marinade into meat until evenly coated. Place bag back in bowl or on sheet pan to protect against leakage. Transfer to refrigerator and let chicken marinate at least 8 hours, or overnight, up to 24 hours. 

Clean grill and preheat to high. 


While grill heats, add oil to a large skillet (preferably not non-stick) set over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions, peppers and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to brown and soften and a brown film forms around edges of the bottom of the pan, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water to pan; scrape the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon to release any browned bits and cover with a lid. Continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes. If water evaporates and pan starts to brown again, add 1/4 cup more water and cook a few minutes more. Season to taste with more salt if desired. Set aside. 

Oil the grates on the grill. Grill chicken, covered, turning to cook both sides, until thoroughly cooked. Chicken should measure 165º F with a thermometer inserted in the thickest part. Do not overcook. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Cut into 1/2-inch strips.

Arrange chicken and peppers on a serving platter. To warm tortillas: stack 4-6 tortillas on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve with chicken, peppers and desired accompaniments. 

– recipe by Jenn Segal

128852links-to-2022-southwest-washington-prep-football-team-schedules https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/08/05/links-to-2022-southwest-washington-prep-football-team-schedules/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Footballskeds22-600x400.jpg

Links to prep football teams from Castle Rock to White Salmon

4A Greater St. Helens League

Battle Ground




3A Greater St. Helens League




Mountain View


2A Greater St. Helens League

Columbia River


Hudson’s Bay

Mark Morris

R.A. Long




1A Trico League

Castle Rock

Columbia-White Salmon

Fort Vancouver

King’s Way Christian

La Center

Seton Catholic

Central 2B League



128845county-council-oks-heritage-farm-advisory-council https://blogs.columbian.com/all-politics-is-local/county-council-oks-heritage-farm-advisory-council/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/1003879380-Heritage-Farm_01-1226x0-c-default-1024x682-600x400.jpg

The Clark County Council voted during its Tuesday meeting to reform the 78th Street Heritage Farm Technical Advisory Team. The advisory team was formed in 2010 but the adoption of the county charter in 2014 and Master Plan updates in 2020 meant it needed to come back before the council, according to Public Lands Manager Rocky Houston.

The team advises county staff on the operation of the farm and makes recommendations to the county manager and county councilors on policy decisions.

The advisory group will have five members, who will be recommended by the county manager for appointment by the council.

“This is a little bit different than other committees,” Councilor Gary Medvigy said.

Medvigy said council and committee members often need expertise related to the work of the committee, but that didn’t appear to be the case this time.

“We just have five positions here and they’re kind of open, at large. There’s no focus on where those people will come from?” Medvigy asked.

Houston said there are categories the county will focus on, such as farming practices, natural resources, Clark County history, agritourism and others.

Medvigy said he was concerned about the make up of the advisory council because, “I’ve sensed some friction and stress over the years with different groups and factions – from the local neighborhood, WSU Extension. Different groups have really taken ownership of Heritage Farm… With this new technical advisory group, we really need to spread it out, we need to have really equity involved and real expertise.”

Medvigy said the five members need to work together to reach agreement as well.

Houston assured Medvigy that would happen.

The council voted unanimously to approve creating the advisory team.

— Shari Phiel

128828stretch-to-move-better https://blogs.columbian.com/sherri-mcmillan/2022/08/04/stretch-to-move-better/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/stretch-yoga-strap-c_compress.jpg

As we get older, we tend to get tighter. Our connective tissue becomes more rigid and that affects our mobility and can increase aches and pains throughout our body. Many will then decide to take up Yoga, but if you’re exceptionally tight, Yoga can often be uncomfortable and a struggle. Those who are often very good at Yoga are those who are hyper-flexible to begin with and you’ll see them in a full forward fold, chest to the ground or in a hamstring stretch with their leg behind their head.   

For those who are generally tight, which is the majority or our population, starting with gentle stretching is a great way to ease into focusing on your flexibility.

The stretches we are going to focus on today, allow you to relax into the stretch while maintaining a supported, comfortable position. 

Invest in a Yoga strap or just use a belt, long scarf or towel.


Lie on your back and extend one leg on the floor and the other towards the ceiling. Feel free to have the leg on the floor either straight or bent with foot flat on the floor if you are tight.

Wrap the strap around the foot that is suspended towards the ceiling. Find a position where you can feel a light stretch in the back of your thighs.

Focus on slow, deep breathing and relaxing into the stretch. If you are tight, your leg will be more bent, but just focus on straightening it as much as you can without causing the leg to shake or causing any pain or strain.

Hold this stretch for as long as you feel comfortable – minimum 30 seconds each leg and ideally longer.  

Stretch to Move Better


Start in the same position as the Hamstring stretch but now, allow the leg to fall to the side and position it suspended in the air at the side of your body until you feel a stretch in your inner thigh/groin area. Try to keep your shoulders pinned to the ground, your hips and rib cage square to the ceiling and avoid rocking to one side.

Position the opposite arm to the side to help counterbalance. Focus on slow, deep breathing and relax into the stretch. If you are tight, your leg will be more bent but just focus on straightening it as much as you can.

Hold this stretch for as long as you feel comfortable – minimum 30 seconds each leg and ideally longer.  

Stretch to Move Better

Hips and Back

Start in the same position as the Hamstring stretch but now, position the leg across your body until you feel a gentle stretch in your hip and back. Position the opposite arm to the side to help counterbalance.

Find a position that feels comfortable and does not strain. Focus on slow, deep breathing and relax into the stretch.

Hold this stretch for as long as you feel comfortable – minimum 30 seconds each leg and ideally longer. 

Stretch to Move Better

As a reminder, here’s why you should stretch:

Increase your range of motion 

Improve your mobility

Reduce risk of low back, knee and shoulder pain and injury

Improve your posture and muscle symmetry 

Reduce muscle stiffness and soreness 

Reduce your stress and improve your mental health 

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

128794stevenson-bulldogs-2022-football-schedule https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/08/03/stevenson-bulldogs-2022-football-schedule/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Stevenson-1024x576-600x338.jpg


(Home games played at Stevenson HS)

(*-Central 2B League game)

(subject to change)

Fri., Sept. 2 — King’s Way Christian, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 9 — Columbia-White Salmon, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 16 — at Fort Vancouver, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 23 — Seton Catholic, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 30 — Kalama*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 7 — Adna*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 14 — Onalaska*, 7 p.m.

Fri. Oct. 21 — at Wahkiakum*, 6 p.m.

Thu., Oct. 27 — at Toledo*, 7 p.m.

128797kalama-chinooks-2022-football-schedule https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/08/03/kalama-chinooks-2022-football-schedule/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/1205_SPT_Kalama-football-champs-1024x576-600x338.jpg


(Home games played at Chinook Stadium, Kalama HS)

(*-Central 2B League game)

(subject to change)

Fri., Sept. 2 — Woodland, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 9 — at Castle Rock, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 16 — La Center, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 23 — Evergreen, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 30 — at Stevenson*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 7 — at Onalaska*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 14 — Wahkiakum*, 7 p.m.

Fri. Oct. 21 — at Toledo*, 7 p.m.

Thu., Oct. 27 — at Adna*, 7 p.m.

128768columbia-white-salmon-bruins-2022-football-schedule-2 https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/08/03/columbia-white-salmon-bruins-2022-football-schedule/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/CWSphotocrop.jpg


(Home games played at Columbia HS, White Salmon)

(*-1A Trico League game)

(subject to change)

Fri., Sept. 2 — Goldendale, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 9 — at Stevenson, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 16 — at Montesano, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 23 — Elma, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 30 — at Seton Catholic*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 7 — King’s Way Christian*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 14 — at Castle Rock*, 7 p.m.

Fri. Oct. 21 — La Center*, 6 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 28 — Fort Vancouver*, 7 p.m.

128775fort-vancouver-trappers-2022-football-schedule-2 https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/08/03/fort-vancouver-trappers-2022-football-schedule/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Trapperz-1024x404-600x237.jpeg


(Home games played at Fort Vancouver HS)

(*-1A Trico League game)

(subject to change)

Fri., Sept. 2 — at Vashon Island, 6 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 9 — at Hoquiam, 6 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 16 — Stevenson, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 23 — St. Helens (Ore.), 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 30 — Castle Rock*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 7 — Foss*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 14 — at King’s Way Christian*, 6 p.m.

Fri. Oct. 21 — Seton Catholic*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 28 — at Columbia-White Salmon*, 7 p.m.

128781seton-catholic-cougars-2022-football-schedule-2 https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/08/03/seton-catholic-cougars-2022-football-schedule/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/SetonFBcrop-600x354.jpg


(Home games played at Seton Catholic HS)

(*-1A Trico League game)

(subject to change)

Fri., Sept. 2 — Rochester, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 9 — Goldendale, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 16 — Life Christian, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 23 — at Stevenson, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 30 — Columbia-White Salmon*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 7 — at Castle Rock*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 14 — at La Center*, 7 p.m.

Fri. Oct. 21 — at Fort Vancouver*, 6 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 28 — King’s Way Christian*, 7 p.m.

128787kings-way-christian-knights-2022-football-schedule-2 https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/08/03/kings-way-christian-knights-2022-football-schedule/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/KingsWayFBcrop-600x321.jpg


(Home games played at Preece Memorial Stadium, King’s Way Christian HS)

(*-1A Trico League game)

(subject to change)

Fri., Sept. 2 — at Stevenson, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 9 — at Ilwaco, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 16 — Meridian, 6 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 23 — OPEN

Fri., Sept. 30 — La Center*, 6 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 7 — at Columbia-White Salmon*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 14 — Fort Vancouver*, 6 p.m.

Fri. Oct. 21 — Castle Rock*, 6 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 28 — at Seton Catholic*, 7 p.m.

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(Home games played at La Center High School)

(*-1A Trico League game)

(subject to change)

Fri., Sept. 2 — Hockinson, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 9 — at Woodland, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 16 — at Kalama, 7 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 24 — Connell, 1 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 30 — at King’s Way Christian*, 6 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 8 — at Mount Baker, 2 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 14 — Seton Catholic*, 7 p.m.

Fri. Oct. 21 — at Columbia-White Salmon*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 28 — Castle Rock*, 7 p.m.

128756castle-rock-rockets-2022-football-schedule https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/08/02/castle-rock-rockets-2022-football-schedule/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/08/CRockCrop22-600x329.jpg


(Home games played at Castle Rock High School)

(*-1A Trico League game)

(subject to change)

Fri., Sept. 2 — at RA Long, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 9 — Kalama, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 16 — Elma, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 23 — at Montesano, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 30 — at Fort Vancouver*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 7 — Seton Catholic*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 14 — Columbia-White Salmon*, 7 p.m.

Fri. Oct. 21 — at King’s Way Christian*, 6 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 28 — at La Center*, 7 p.m.

128746summer-heirloom-tomato-and-goat-cheese-gratin-with-herbs https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/summer-heirloom-tomato-and-goat-cheese-gratin-with-herbs/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/07/IMG_6468-e1659163555176-1024x822-573x460.jpg

Summer goes by so fast. Just when you really start to get the hang of it, it’s suddenly Labor Day, and before you know it, it’s over. Be sure to make the most of it. Eat fresh and eat seasonal every chance you get.

No matter how you say tomato, the season is upon us. There is nothing quite like a juicy, fresh picked tomato, whether it’s from your own vine or warmed from the sun at the market stand. Embrace tomato season with this easy gratin. Bursting with sun-ripened tomatoes, this simple recipe is an easy weeknight supper you’ll want to make again and again. 

Select a baking dish that is microwave and oven-safe. You can prepare the onions in this dish, microwave them, then finish the rest of the dish in the oven. Use small, ripe tomatoes, or adjust your larger ones by taking a few slices out of the middle, which is what I did. Pop those into the fridge so they’re ready to go for sandwiches, burgers, or a quick Caprese salad. Scoop the pulp out of the tomatoes before roasting, so your gratin doesn’t turn soupy. Save what you scoop in a small jar and refrigerate. Add vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and some fresh basil and make a delicious fresh tomato vinaigrette. Use a creamy, firm goat cheese for this recipe. It will need to hold up against the juices and form a sturdy crust. I opted to leave the poblano pepper out, but will be sure to try it next time I make this. Be ready with plates, forks, knives and some crusty bread. This smells so good while it’s baking, it will be hard to wait.

Next, make a Fonio Grain Salad with Herbs, Summer Vegetables and Chickpeas. This make-ahead salad of ripe cherry tomatoes, diced cucumbers, chickpeas, feta, olives and fresh herbs mixed with peppery arugula, a scoop of fonio and a light vinaigrette is a splendid summer meal. You can also add a portion of grilled fish or chicken on top and make it a heartier meal.

Fonio has been cultivated in Africa for more than 5,000 years. A nutty-flavored kind of millet, this tiny ancient grain is tender, gluten-free and packed with nutrients. It has cystine and methionine, two amino acids that make it a favorite to be baked into bread for diabetics or those who have celiac disease. It cooks up quickly and is much like a cross between quinoa and couscous, both in appearance and texture. With the highest calcium content of all grains, fonio can be a good choice for those who don’t consume dairy. You can find fonio at Whole Foods market, or order it off Amazon. 

Summer Heirloom Tomato and Goat Cheese Gratin with Herbs

Preheat oven to 450º F. Place sliced onion and pepper (if using) in a microwave-safe baking dish and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, a pinch of salt and thyme sprigs. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until onions soften, about 2 1/2 minutes. Remove from microwave and let rest, covered, until slightly cooled. 

Uncover bowl and discard thyme. Spread onion mixture evenly across the bottom of baking dish. Using a spoon, scoop and discard seeds and pulp from tomatoes. Season the interior of the tomatoes with salt and pepper, then place tomatoes over onions, cut side up, in a snug layer. 

Scatter tomatoes with half of the basil, then top with an even layer of crumbled goat cheese. Top with breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and remaining olive oil. 

Bake until tomatoes are soft and goat cheese bubbles and is browns in spots, about 20 minutes. Remove the gratin from oven and let rest at least 5 minutes. Top with remaining basil leaves and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately, with bread for dipping, if desired. 

– adapted from Doug Psaltis

Fonio Grain Salad with Herbs, Summer Vegetables and Chickpeas

Make the dressing: In a large bowl, combine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and chile flakes. Whisk together, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add olives, shallot or onion, cucumber, chickpeas, tomatoes, feta and cooked fonio to the bowl and toss to combine. Stir in parsley, dill, arugula, and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Let rest for a few minutes then adjust seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, oil or lemon juice if needed. Serve immediately, or can be served later at room temperature. 

– adapted from Tiffany Derry

128738clark-county-gop-says-ranked-choice-voting-not-what-county-needs https://blogs.columbian.com/all-politics-is-local/clark-county-gop-says-ranked-choice-voting-not-what-county-needs/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Ballot-drop-box-600x400.jpg

Last December, the Clark County Charter Review Commission voted 11-4 to put ranked choice voting on the November 2022 ballot. The charter amendment would apply to county elected officials only. The measure is part of a larger effort by FairVote Washington, a nonpartisan nonprofit based in Bothell that focuses on election reforms. The measure has already drawn opposition, most notably from the Clark County Republican Party.

At its July meeting, the party’s executive board voted to oppose the ranked choice voting measure.

“The vote was unanimous,” Chair Joel Mattila said in a press release. “With a little research, the many problems with ranked choice voting become obvious.”

It was 17th Legislative District Chair Tom Tangen who made the motion to oppose the measure.

“The average voter needs to know that ranked choice voting increases the cost of an election, will add a number of days, possibly over a week, to learn the winner of some races, and in its complexity would create more concern as to the integrity of our election process,” Tangen said in the release. “NAACP members along the East Coast have raised concerns that this type of voting is discriminatory. Pierce County tried it, and quickly got rid of it. This is the last thing Clark County voters need.”

There’s no denying ranked choice voting is more complex than a traditional ballot. Instead of voting for a single candidate, ranked choice voting lets voters rank candidates in order of preference, i.e., first, second, third, etc.

If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she wins that race. If no candidate wins outright, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated from consideration and the second-choice votes from ballots for the eliminated candidate are applied to the remaining candidates.

If that doesn’t give one of the remaining candidates a majority, the process is repeated until one does.

FairVote Washington officials say the benefits still outweigh the additional effort and possible confusion.

Speaking at FairVote’s March campaign kickoff, former U.S. Rep. Brian Baird said, “The issue has to be about, is this good for our democratic republic form of government. Will it lead to more citizen engagement? Will it help elect people who can work together, who can solve problems? Will it reduce the tone of antagonism and hatred, even, and bring people together? I think ranked choice voting will do that.”

Baird was the 3rd District representative from 1999 to 2011.

Several other states already have ranked choice voting in place for federal or state elections. For example, Alaska allows ranked choice voting for federal and state elections while Maine uses it in federal elections and municipal elections in Portland. Hawaii enacted legislation in 2022 allowing ranked choice voting in federal elections starting next year. Additionally, some cities in California, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Utah and Virginia are already using the unconventional voting method.

Bills were also introduced in both the Washington House of Representatives and Senate during the 2022 legislative session to allow ranked choice voting in county, city, school district, fire district and port district elections but failed to pass before the session cutoff date. State Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, introduced a bill this session to allow ranked choice voting in presidential primary elections but that bill, too, failed to pass.

For more information about FairVote Washington’s ranked choice voting initiatives, go to https://fairvotewa.org.

— Shari Phiel


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Most diehard gym enthusiasts resort to lunges and squats to train their lower body. However, many new exercisers may find these exercises too challenging and may even experience knee pain when attempting to perform them.

Without the ability to lunge or squat though, you will lose the ability to climb stairs, get out of a chair comfortably or even sit on a toilet. Clearly the inability to bend at your knees and hips can dramatically affect your quality of life and your ability to perform activities of daily living. It’s a dilemma because squatting and lunging are important movements, but clearly you shouldn’t do them if they are causing pain. 

The pain that an individual experiences when lunging or squatting may be due to any of the following:

Poor kinesthetic awareness resulting in the exercises not being performed correctly

Muscle weakness or tightness in the tissues that results in poor mechanics and a more damaging knee articulation

Performing too many repetitions, too high of a load or a variation that is too advanced

Years of misalignment will often cause degeneration and wear and tear that can lead to osteoarthritis and pain 

You can approach this issue in the following manner:

Strengthen your supporting muscles

Include your quads, hamstrings and glutes starting with gentler, less-loaded options. Floor work or seated exercises can help you condition your muscles and as they develop you can transition that strength into standing exercises like squats & lunges.

Options When You Can’t Do Lunges & Squats Options When You Can’t Do Lunges & Squats Options When You Can’t Do Lunges & Squats

Release tightness in your supporting fascia

Focus on your hips and thighs. Using a foam roller or massage gun to release tight areas can help relieve tension and allow better, pain-free mechanics.

Options When You Can’t Do Lunges & Squats Options When You Can’t Do Lunges & Squats

Improve your technique and mechanics

Investment in a fitness trainer or asking for technique tips from a fitness instructor at your gym can help assure you are performing the exercises correctly and progressing effectively. If exercising on your own, watch your form in a mirror to assure you are keeping your knees and toes tracking in the same direction and that your joints are stacked to minimize strain. 

Progress appropriately

If you progress appropriately, you can perform lunges and squats pain-free. 

Start with a 1-leg balance

Strengthen your ability to stabilize your pelvis and maintain appropriate muscle activation. Work towards the ability to maintain balance on each leg for 60 seconds without wobbling. 

Options When You Can’t Do Lunges & Squats

Knee Dips

Once you can stand on one leg and remain stable, stand in front of a mirror on one leg. Point your toes and knee forward so they point in the same direction. Square up your hips and shoulders to the mirror so you are stranding straight to the mirror. Avoid leaning on one hip. Imagine you’ve got a string attached to the top of your head and it’s pulling your body straight up so your posture is elongated.

Slowly bend your knee, allow your hips to transition backwards, and lower your body weight down and up with minimal range of motion. Your primary focus during this exercise is to ensure your kneecap doesn’t collapse in towards the midline of your body so that it points in the same direction as your supporting foot and that you’re not leaning into your hips.

Make sure your knee is not wobbling and is completely stabilized.

Do 30-60 seconds reach leg.

Increase your range of motion as your strength and balance improves. 

Add Baby Lunges & Squats when you can.

When progressing to lunging and squat movements, start with minimal depth and range of motion and get deeper as you get stronger. Start adding more load as you become more conditioned and can squat or lunge pain-free.

If you are not able to progress to lunging or squatting, continue strengthening your lower body by performing less-loaded exercises like bridging, hamstring curls, side-lying leg lifts and other lower body floor work. Maintaining strength in your lower body is critical so get it however you can!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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Poseidon’s trident, Pangu’s ax and King Arthur’s Excalibur wielded a wave of influence in their respective worlds – similar to an endorsement from Donald Trump.

At least that is how it was portrayed during Joe Kent’s latest telephone meeting with supporters on Monday, which featured the former president.

“With your support and with the support of President Trump, we’re going to be able to take back this district and that’s how we start to take back our country,” Kent said. “So, it’s a great honor for me to be a part of this movement.”

The event resembled a brief promotional package, as it lasted about 12 minutes with Trump speaking for about half that time. His preamble consisted of all the tremendous things he sees in Kent paired with insults toward current political leaders. Trump described the congressional candidate as a “tough cookie with a big, fat (and) beautiful heart” while adding that Kent is the only candidate in the district with his “total” endorsement.

Although it wasn’t explicitly said, the latter point may be in reference to fellow candidate Heidi St. John and her recent mailers. The glossy flier features an image of Trump watching over St. John’s proud hand-on-hip stance and reads, “vote to support Donald Trump, vote for conservative Heidi St. John.”

There were expected jabs at Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who Trump and Kent deemed a Republican In Name Only. As a refresher, the six-term incumbent was one of 10 House Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack.

The Kent campaign delved into recent donations to Herrera Beutler and St. John from four political action committees, claiming that they are being funneled from “the establishment.” Among the examples, they nodded to St. John’s recent fortune after a super political action committee, Conservatives for Stronger America, donated $724,000 to her campaign.

Soon after, a staffer asked listeners to donate to Kent’s fight against the “torrent of slime” in Washington D.C.

According to the Federal Election Commission’s quarterly report from April 1 to June 30, the candidate has $545,123 cash on hand, making him the second highest fundraiser in the race. Herrera Beutler comes in first with $1.1 million cash on hand.

So, will Trump’s endorsement secure a win for Kent?

Well, it’s worth noting that most Trump-endorsed candidates won their 2022 primaries for Senate and House, state executive, governor and legislative races, according to Ballotpedia. However, the efficacy of Republicans’ highly esteemed Trumpian testimony has yet to reveal itself until the general election results are in.

Speaking of, the primary election is on Aug. 2 and the top two candidates will advance to the November general election. Get to voting!

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Frustrated by your favorite feline peeing outside the litter box? Wondering how to prevent it?

Keep Kitty From Peeing Outside the Litter Box

Because most cats urinate inappropriately for one of two reasons, medical or behavioral, the first step is a visit to your vet. The vet will perform a thorough physical examination of your cat and collect a urine sample to either rule in or rule out the following medical conditions:


Bladder stones: These stones can not only irritate the bladder but block it, and if your vet suspects they’re the cause, x-rays are essential in determining their size and number. While smaller stones may dissolve on a special diet, larger ones may need to be removed surgically.


Idiopathic cystitis: Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder, idiopathic means the cause is unknown, and cats with this condition often have blood in their urine. A urine sample is of utmost importance since the blood is often only detectable microscopically. If your vet finds blood in your cat’s urine with no sign of crystals, stones or bacteria, the likely diagnosis is idiopathic cystitis, and it’s usually treated through dietary changes and environmental enrichment, with pain and anti-anxiety medications often prescribed as well.


Metabolic disease: Among the metabolic diseases that may increase your cat’s urination are chronic kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, and thyroid problems. If your cat has been drinking water more and/or you’ve been cleaning her litter box more often, mention this to your vet who may then run some blood work to see if one of the aforementioned issues is the culprit.

Keep Kitty From Peeing Outside the Litter Box

Urinary tract infections: An inflammatory response in the urinary tract caused by bacteria, UTI’s are treated with antibiotics. Once the antibiotics are finished, vets usually recommend follow-up testing to make certain the infection is gone. When one or more urinary issues are chronic, however, this is referred to as feline lower urinary tract disease or FLUTD. If your cat is diagnosed with FLUTD, your vet may recommend a special urinary diet and/or supplements to support the health of her urinary tract.


Urinary problems often lead to urinary obstructions, especially in male cats. If yours is “posturing” to urinate and little or no urine is being eliminated, he may have a blockage or partial obstruction. Because either condition can swiftly become life threatening, bring him to your vet immediately.

Keep Kitty From Peeing Outside the Litter Box

If, on the other hand, there are no medical reasons for your cat’s inappropriate urination, the cause is, most likely, behavioral. The usual suspects: a dirty or uncomfortable litter box, the location of the litter box or unappealing litter; stress due to the presence of another animal or a new person in your household, and the lingering scent of their own urine long after that soiled area has been cleaned up.


Consider, then, these solutions:

Ensure your cat’s litter box is both comfortable and clean – the larger the better, and if possible, leave it uncovered.

Place the litter box in a quiet yet accessible area of your home – far from where your cat eats and drinks – and preferably out of sight.

If yours is a multi-story house, place a litter box on each floor.

Use a shallow box or place a ramp at the entrance of the litter box to make it easier for older cats to access.

Use an unscented, scoopable litter that most cats seem to prefer.

Many vets recommend having two boxes in a single-cat household. Why? Because some cats feel best using one for urine and the other for stool.

Thoroughly clean any areas where your cat has urinated with an enzymatic cleaner to eliminate all traces of the odor and, hopefully, discourage her from continuing to pee there.

Last, but certainly not least, make your cat’s environment an enriched and happy one. Add both vertical and horizontal stimulants – from cat trees and wall ledges of varying heights to cat tunnels and puzzle games. Provide her with numerous toys to keep her constructively occupied and set aside some time each day to play, play, play with her.


If, however, these environmental changes prove ineffective, your vet may prescribe a medication to reduce her anxiety and stress.


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The heat is definitely on this week. When it gets this hot, the last place you want to be is the kitchen. Warmer temperatures can definitely wreak havoc with your appetite, not to mention your desire to cook. Make something refreshing and beat the heat with cooling dips that let you eat light. These three dips will help you make the most of what you have, whether it’s a few berries from your garden or the last of the carrots in your crisper. 

Plant-based and packed with protein, Cowboy Caviar is made from good-for-you ingredients that you most likely have in your fridge or pantry. Simple and healthy, it’s made from fiber-filled, longevity-boosting beans, plus anti-inflammatory vegetables and herbs, like peppers, onion and cilantro. Toss these together with a lightly seasoned vinaigrette, and you’ve got a low fuss, no cook, delicious dish to snack on or sub for a meal. Economical and infinitely adaptable, it keeps well for several days. Swap as you like to make this heartier pico de gallo. I used canned black beans and traded edamame for the black-eyed peas. Vibrant and nourishing, it’s just right for a day when it’s just too warm. 

Make a thick and creamy, healthier dip to eat with all those garden veggies. This next easy dip is made with Dash Everything But the Salt seasoning blend. Perfect with sturdy vegetables like celery, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, radishes and snap peas, you can also serve it with whole-grain bagel chips, pretzels, or crackers. You can use regular Everything But The Bagel seasoning if sodium isn’t a concern, or make your own salt-free seasoning out of dried garlic, dried onion, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds.

Let’s not forget dessert. For the easiest whipped cream fruit dip ever, try this Whipped Yogurt Dip. Made with only two ingredients, you can use the whipped topping of your choice and substitute other types of yogurt, as well. I used Truwhip and nonfat plain Greek yogurt. It was light, fluffy and tangy, with just the right amount of sweetness, not too thick or thin, just perfect for dipping with fruit. I like that you can make this with flavored yogurt, too, and the Two Good variety called for in this recipe has only 2 grams of sugar per 5.3 ounce cup. I wanted to try making a smaller batch, so I mixed equal amounts of yogurt and Truwhip, 1 cup of each, and it was just right.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Eat light and stay cool!

Cowboy Caviar


Combine black beans, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, red onion, green onion, jalapeño, and lime juice in a large bowl and stir together.

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, honey, garlic and ground black pepper. Pour dressing over bean mixture, then fold in avocado, peach, and cilantro. Season to taste with salt. If time allows, refrigerate 1 hour. Serve with tortilla chips. 

 – adapted from Well + Good 

Dash Everything But the Salt Dip

Mix feta, sour cream, yogurt and lemon juice together in a medium bowl. Mix in Dash seasoning and stir until well combined. Refrigerate and let chill 30 minutes; stir before serving. Serve with veggies or whole-grain chips. 

– joybauer.com

Whipped Yogurt Dip

Mix whipped topping and yogurt together in a small bowl until fully combined. Serve with fresh fruit. 

– eatthis.com

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Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey is facing another lawsuit, this time by the candidate challenging him for his office in the November general election. Candidate Brett Simpson filed suit against Kimsey and Elections Supervisor Cathie Garber Thursday in Clark County Superior Court. Simpson is seeking an injunction to bar the Elections Office from tabulating, recording, counting, certifying, retaining records or publishing, distributing, communicating or otherwise disclosing any results related to the improper primary race between himself and Kimsey.
In his suit, Simpson claims the Elections Office sent incorrect primary ballots to over 300,000 voters throughout Clark County when it included races that should not have been on the ballot.
“Election integrity matters,” Simpson said in a press release Thursday. “When our county auditor openly violates state election laws in his very own election, citizens must stand up and demand transparency and accountability. Washington courts have long defended the integrity of our local elections stating, ‘What higher interest can anyone have in an election and its result than the citizen and voter?’ ”
Kimsey confirmed Friday that five races with only one or two candidates were included on the primary ballot. The other races are the county offices of assessor, clerk, prosecuting attorney and treasurer.
While these races are left off the primary ballot in some cases, Kimsey said there was a reason these five were included.
“In November 2021, Clark County voters approved an amendment to the County Charter that made the offices of council member, assessor, auditor, clerk, sheriff, treasurer and prosecuting attorney non-partisan and requiring that ‘Elections for the offices shall be conducted in the manner provided for partisan local elections under state law.’ Under state law candidates for partisan local offices appear on the primary ballot whether there is one candidate or more than one candidate,” Kimsey said.
Ballots for the Aug. 2 primary election were mailed out starting on July 15 and can be returned by mail or dropped off in any one of the 22 ballot dropboxes in the county by 8 p.m. on election day. For a list of dropbox locations, go to https://clark.wa.gov/elections/ballot-deposit-locations.
Kimsey was last in Superior Court on July 13 when Vancouver resident Carolyn Crain filed suit over 18th Legislative District candidate John Ley’s name being included on the ballot. Crain had successfully challenged Ley’s eligibility to run in the district and wanted the court to force the Elections office to reprint the ballots without his name. Superior Court Judge David Gregerson denied the request but later ruled any votes cast for Ley would not be included in determining which two candidates moved on to the general election.

— Shari Phiel

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(Home games played at Ridgefield High School)

(*-2A Greater St. Helens League game)

(subject to change)

Fri., Sept. 2 — WF West, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 9 — at Mountain View, 4:30 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 16 — Hockinson*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 23 — at Hudson’s Bay*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 30 — Washougal*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 7 — at Mark Morris*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 14 — Columbia River*, 7 p.m.

Fri. Oct. 21 — RA Long*, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 28 — at Woodland*, 7 p.m.

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Most people work their core from the floor performing crunches, sit-ups, planks and other variations. The core is extremely important because it’s the foundation for all your movements.

When your core is strong that strength radiates out to your extremities allowing you to perform activities of daily living better and enjoy enhanced sports performance.

If you think about it though, most activities that require a strong core are from a standing upright position. That’s why it’s extremely important to perform some of your core conditioning movements from a standing position.

Here are a few exercises to get you started that require only your body weight and something to hold like a hand weight, water bottle, jug or soup can.

Chop Low/High

Start by standing tall, good posture and abdominals engaged. In a controlled fashion, swing your weight downwards to the side of your body as you pivot to that side. Then swing the weight upwards reaching high in a diagonal pattern as you pivot your body in that direction. Perform 8-15 reps in one direction and repeat the other way.

Standing Core Standing Core

Torso Rotation

Start by standing tall, good posture and abdominals engaged. Hold the weight in front of your body with your elbows bent and locked at your side. In a controlled fashion, rotate your torso as you twist the weight side to side. Keep the rotation tight and compact. Control the rotation movement side to side using your abdominal muscles. Perform 8-15 reps each way.

Standing Core

Stir The Pot

Start by standing tall, good posture and abdominals engaged. Hold the weight in front of your body with your elbows bent at your side. Now slowly move the weight in a big circle as if you are stirring a large pot. Keep your shoulders back and maintain a strong core. Perform 8-15 circles each way.

Standing Core

One Leg Deadlift

Start by standing tall on one leg, good posture and abdominals engaged. Slowly lower the weight towards the ground keeping your back and both legs extended. Try to stretch the legs away from each other. Go as low as you feel comfortable. Complete 8-15 each leg. 

Standing Core Standing Core

Try to work your core 2-3 times per week for optimal health and functioning. 

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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Federal lawmakers are making swift moves to reduce impacts on protected rights in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade being overturned. Among them, Congress members are seeking to protect marriage equality — something Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler voted against.

The U.S. House passed the Respect for Marriage Act on Tuesday, an effort to establish federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages. After the U.S. Supreme Court revoked federal abortion protections* in June, lawmakers and advocates cautioned that other rights were at stake.

Concerns were heightened when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called attention to cases that should be reversed in light of the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling, including Obergefell v. Hodges. The 2015 case legalized same-sex marriage.

Specifically, the Respect for Marriage Act protects individuals from state discrimination related to marriage. It also repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act by replacing federal provisions defining marriage.

All 220 House Democrats and a group of 47 Republicans voted in favor of the measure, sending it forward to the Senate for further approval. Herrera Beutler was among the 157 Republicans to oppose the legislation, including fellow Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Herrera Beutler echoed her colleagues’ criticisms of how it was introduced, the representative’s communications team told The Columbian. Republican members were dissatisfied with the last-minute presentation of the bill to the House Rules Committee, adding that it should have gone through the Judiciary Committee hearings for questioning.

“I’m not interested in further involving the federal government in marriage but if Congress is truly interested in solidifying the issue of marriage going forward, House leaders would have… provided members more than 18 hours’ notice to study a bill that could impact the laws of more than 30 states,” Herrera Beutler wrote in a statement.

Washington State Democrats blasted Herrera Beutler and McMorris Rodgers for voting against the legislation, adding that their party is actively attempting to take away basic freedoms.

“I’ve spent most of my life fighting for a person’s right — my right — to marry who they love,” said Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski in a statement. “We won’t let that progress be erased.”

Days before voting on the Respect for Marriage Act, the House reviewed the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022, which prevents states from penalizing people who travel to receive abortion services. Herrera Beutler also voted in opposition to the bill.

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Clear, sunny skies and fruit and veggies galore, it’s a perfect time to get outdoors and celebrate National Picnic Month. A picnic captures all the joie de vivre that is summer and delivers it in food form. In the park or at the beach, or even in your own back yard, the addition of fresh air and blue sky make any meal feel like a vacation. A picnic can be as much or as little as you want it to be. What you put in your basket is entirely up to you. 

Pack your picnic basket with reusable, unbreakable plates, cups, and cutlery. Bring a roll of paper towels, cloth napkins or bandanas for napkins. Don’t forget serving spoons and a small, wrapped knife and cutting board. Pack wet wipes, trash bags, sunscreen and bug spray. Add a large picnic blanket, or if you’re like me, keep one in your car at all times. 

A hard-sided cooler protects your food and helps to keep it at the proper temperature. Pack food into stiff, resealable containers to avoid spills or crushing and tote drinks in a separate cooler, if possible. Use plenty of ice packs to keep your food cold. Skip salads with mayonnaise and take hardy bean, grain or pasta salads with vinegar and oil dressing instead. For food safety, don’t leave perishables out of the cooler for more than 2 hours.

Bring veggie sticks and hummus. Olives, pickles, fruit jam, cheese and crackers. Homemade iced tea or lemonade in a thermos. Pack fresh cherries, berries, or cut melon, and cookies, brownies, or hand pies for dessert.  

For a sandwich that’s good to go, try these Pressed Italian Picnic Sandwiches. Delicious and filling, they are just perfect for picnics and summer entertaining. They will keep well in the fridge for several days, so you can make them well ahead of time. Take time to wrap them before serving. The wrappers help hold everything together, making them neater to eat as well as easier to hand out.

You can make these as you like, swapping in other ingredients like sun dried tomato or pesto for the roasted red pepper, or spinach for the arugula. Use any size ciabatta, or try using rolls. When you trim the edges, save the trimmings. You can chop them up to add to a crisp green salad tossed with Italian dressing.  

To prevent your sandwich from becoming soggy, use peppers that you roast yourself, not jarred ones. You can do this under your broiler as below, or outdoors on the grill, roasting the peppers over medium to high heat until they char enough that the skin softens. I did this a day ahead and refrigerated the peppers overnight in a sealed container, so that they were easy to peel the next day. If you are buying a big bag of peppers, roast more than you’ll need. You can use the extras for sandwiches, pizza, salads or in anything that needs a little punch of flavor. 

I found deli meat, bell peppers, bocconcini, and artisan rolls for this recipe at Costco. If you use rolls, trim one side of your sandwiches before serving so that you can see all the wonderful colors of the filling. I didn’t have any arugula, so I used some butter lettuce from the garden and added some fresh basil leaves to the sandwiches. I used balsamic glaze in place of the balsamic vinegar, drizzling it lightly over the filled sandwiches. I also added a heavy splash of red wine vinegar to the peppers when I dressed them with the olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Don’t waste another minute. Get out there and picnic!

Pressed Italian Picnic Sandwiches


Set oven to broil. Slice sides off peppers and trim ends off so that pieces are flat. Place sections skin up on baking sheet. Broil until very well charred (mostly black on top), watching closely, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately place peppers in a resealable bag. Refrigerate for 30-40 minutes. Remove peppers from bag and peel off blackened skin, then discard skin. Slice peppers into strips. Place peppers in a small bowl and drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.


Cut ciabatta in half, buttering each side lightly. Layer bottom half generously with cold cuts (4-5 overlapping layers), then top with red pepper strips. Pat bocconcini dry with a paper towel, then add over peppers. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over sandwich filling; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with a generous layer of arugula and cover with top slice of ciabatta. 

Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place on a baking sheet. Refrigerate, pressing with a heavy skillet set on top of another baking sheet to weigh down, 6 hours or overnight. Remove from plastic wrap, trimming ends and sides to make neat sandwiches. Wrap sandwiches with parchment paper and twine.  

– seasonsandsuppers.ca

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After sleeping all night, it’s a great idea to start your day with some gentle range of motion exercises/stretches to get your blood flowing, wake up your muscles, lubricate your joints and warm your connective tissue.

Try the following 5-minute sequence in the morning and make note of how your body feels before and after:

Opposite Arm and Leg Extension

Start by getting down onto your hands and knees.

Position your arms directly under your shoulders and your knees directly underneath your hips.

Keep your abdominals contracted and your spine completely stabilized. Your back should be completely neutral and it should feel like a straight line from your tailbone to the top of your head.

Start the exercise by lifting one arm from the shoulder and reaching it out in front of you while simultaneously stretching the opposite leg behind you.

You should attempt to stretch the arm forwards to the wall in front of you and the leg backwards to the wall behind you versus lifting towards the ceiling.

Maintain the abdominal contraction and spine stabilization without tilting side to side during the entire set.  

Return to the starting position and then repeat on the other arm and leg.  

Remember the key reference points for this exercise are that you must keep the abdominals contracted and the back should be completely stabilized.  

Try to avoid arching your back as you lift the arms and/or legs – think more about reaching the arms and legs rather than lifting so high that you arch your back.

Repeat for 1 minute alternating sides and then transition into Child’s pose to stretch and release. 


Start on your hands and knees with your arms directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.

Slowly transition into Cow pose by lifting your chin and looking up while simultaneously tilting your tailbone towards the sky.

Now slowly reverse the movement transitioning into Cat pose by rounding your back, dropping your chin towards your chest and tilting your tailbone towards the floor.

Keep your abdominals active throughout the entire range of motion to support and protect your low back.

Remember, to move slowly and breathe into each phase of the movement.

Continue for 1 minute and then transition into Child’s pose to stretch and release.  

5-Minute Gentle Morning Routine 5-Minute Gentle Morning Routine


Start by lying on your stomach on the floor with your feet wider than your hips and your abdominals contracted to protect your low back.

Place your hands shoulder width apart with fingers pointing forward.

Now, slowly extend your arms, peeling your body away from the mat, lifting the chest up and rolling your shoulders back. Feel free to keep your elbows more bent to minimize the extension in your spine.

Listen to your body and protect your low back.

Hold the stretch for one breath and then transition back into child’s pose.

Hold for 1 breath.

Slowly move back and forth from Cobra to Child’s pose for 1 minute. 

5-Minute Gentle Morning Routine

Child’s Pose

Start on your hands and knees then move your hips backwards towards your heels as your reach your arms forward.

Let your hands and head rest into your mat. Feel free to have your knees wider than your hips and allow your torso to rest between your thighs.

Relax and sink into the stretch.

This is a recovery pose, so transition into this movement in between each of the exercises above and partner it with Cobra. 

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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Feline vertigo or feline vestibular disease refers to a sudden, non-progressive disturbance of balance. Capable of affecting cats of all ages, those afflicted with it will become disoriented and nauseous, develop a head tilt (they often lean or fall in the direction of their head tilt), have irregular, jerking eye movements called nystagmus, and even vomit.

Vertigo in Cats

What, then, is the vestibular system? It’s the system responsible for maintaining a cat’s normal balance with central components located in the brain and peripheral components located in the inner and middle ear.


The possible causes of feline vertigo include middle or inner ear infections, trauma or injury, drugs toxic to the ear, hypothyroidism and tumors, particularly in older cats. When no specific cause for a cat’s condition can be determined, it’s referred to as feline idiopathic vestibular disease. Why? Because the sudden onset of the above-mentioned signs show a subsequent and rapid improvement with little, if any, medical intervention.


There are no specific tests for feline vestibular disease itself. Most cases are diagnosed based on your particular cat’s medical history, clinical signs and a thorough physical examination by your vet as well as on the results of some or all of the following: blood tests, urine tests (these check for urinary tract infections and kidney function), ear cultures and cytology (examination of any discharge or fluids found in the ear canal), spinal fluid analysis, testing for kidney, liver and pancreatic function, thyroid testing to determine hormone production, and electrolyte tests to check for dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance.


In some cases, testing may also include blood pressure measurements and head x-rays to assess the appearance of the middle and inner ears while, occasionally, a CT scan or MRI will be performed to look for tumors or other abnormalities.


Any subsequent course of action will ultimately depend on your cat’s symptoms and on whether a cause for her condition has been established. If a cause has indeed been determined, then the underlying condition will be treated rather than the vestibular disease itself.

Vertigo in Cats

In the case of middle or inner ear infections, however, your vet may prescribe antibiotics or anti-fungal medications as well as a medication to reduce her motion sickness, nausea and vomiting. Since idiopathic vestibular disease is a short-term, self-resolving condition, its symptoms are typically worse in the first 24 to 48 hours and improve steadily over the next two to three weeks


But, as a conscientious pet parent, you can help your kitty feel better while her symptoms are at their worst by following these suggestions:

Manage your own stress because cats are extremely sensitive to our emotions.

Keep her confined in a quiet, safe space far from any stairs.

Support her by surrounding her with a thick, rolled up blanket.

Vertigo in Cats

Ensure that her food and water bowls and litter box are at ground level and nearby.

Make certain that she remains hydrated and fed if she can’t do so herself.

If she’s unable to stand at all, assist her in changing positions periodically to prevent any sores from developing on her body.

Avoid the temptation to carry her since she has to walk in order to re-train her “navigational” system.

Whereas the majority of cats make a complete recovery, some severely affected ones may be left with a head tilt. The good news is that in most cases of feline idiopathic vestibular disease, the condition will never reappear.



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Slump, grunt and buckle. It sounds like a grueling exercise routine, but it’s actually what you should do with all the fruit you have on hand this summer. Stone fruits and berries are at the peak of perfection, so now is the perfect time. It doesn’t get any sweeter than this. Here are two recipes to get you baking.  

Much more delicious than they sound, slumps and grunts have all the appeal of pie without the hard work of constructing one. Rather than wasting time fussing with a crust, make one of these classic New England dishes made of diced fruit or berries cooked under spoonfuls of biscuit dough. Ideal for hot summer days, grunts are cooked on the stove in a lidded pot, the steam lending extra moisture to the biscuits. If you prefer to use your oven, a slump is the answer. The fruit and biscuit preparation is exactly the same, but you bake your finished dish rather than cooking it on the stove.  Both methods are a great way to use up any frozen fruit or less than perfect berries you discover at the bottom of the container you just bought. 

For this Blueberry Grunt, adust the amount of sugar based on your berries’ sweetness. I used 1/4 cup and found it to be just right. I skipped the cinnamon but added just a bit of lemon zest to brighten the berry filling. Mix the dough very lightly, until it just comes together. This recipe makes a generous amount of biscuits. Cover and refrigerate any remaining dough. You can use it to top more fruit or make some quick biscuits for breakfast in the morning.  

Another delicious baked option is the buckle. A buckle is the best of both worlds:  a fresh fruit coffeecake topped with streusel that sometimes contains oats. It has dense-yet-tender cake, layers of fruit, and cinnamon-streusel topping, making it enjoyable for breakfast, dessert or any time of the day. 

For extra ease, try this Plum and Blackberry Granola Crisp. You can use other stone fruit or berries in this recipe as long as you end up with about 2 pounds of fruit. This crisp is vegan and you can also make it gluten-free by using gluten-free oats and flour. I swapped sunflower and pumpkin seeds in place of the almonds to make this nut-free as well. The granola is made with olive oil and maple syrup, and I used whole-wheat flour in place of the all-purpose to add fiber and make this dessert healthier.  

Gather your fresh fruit and berries and get baking!

Blueberry Grunt



For filling: 

Combine water, sugar, lemon juice, zest and cinnamon in an 11” skillet or 6-quart Dutch oven and mix together. Stir in blueberries. Bring blueberry mixture to a gentle boil over low heat, stirring occasionally. 

For dough:

While berries cook, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk together. Work in cold butter cubes with a pastry blender, or use clean fingers. Quickly and gently stir in buttermilk until mixture forms a cohesive dough. 

Using a tablespoon, dollop the dough in small mounds over the blueberry mixture. Cover with a lid and cook over low heat until the biscuits are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

For each serving, scoop up berries with a biscuit or two and invert on a plate, so that berries spill down over the biscuit. Store covered and refrigerated; reheat before serving.

– King Arthur Test Kitchen

For Slump:

Preheat oven to 400º F. Make filling and dough as directed above. Drop dough onto simmering blueberry mixture, then transfer to oven. Bake, uncovered, 17-20 minutes or until dumplings are golden brown. Serve warm, with ice cream. 


Plum and Blackberry Granola Crisp


granola topping:

For filling:

Place rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 350º F. Toss plums, blackberries, raw sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a large bowl to combine. Transfer to a 9-inch diameter pie dish or 1-qt baking dish. 

For granola topping:

Stir oil and maple syrup in a medium bowl to combine. Add oats, almonds, coconut, flour and 2 pinches of salt. Work until mixture comes together in loose clumps; scatter over filling. Place crisp on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Cake until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 35-45 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes before serving. Serve with yogurt, whipped cream, or ice cream, if desired.

Can be baked 1 day ahead. Let cool completely; cover and chill. 

– adapted from recipe by Deb Perelman, epicurious.com

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There’s value to doing something active every single day. That doesn’t mean that you need to push yourself or head to the gym every day and that you shouldn’t have recovery days, but you should have intentional movement planned into every single day.

Why You Should Have Intentional Movement Planned For Everyday

Move EverydayFeel Better

Movement creates energy. As soon as you start to move, endorphins are released, and you start to feel better and more energized. Regular exercise helps to reduce depression and improves your confidence and self-esteem. Once you start to move your body every day….you’ll notice that your days are better on the days you exercise versus the days you skip. 

Sleep Better

Studies indicate that regular exercisers enjoy better quality and deeper sleep. This will positively impact every part of your life.

Become Physically Stronger

You will develop the physical strength and endurance to tackle any challenges that present themselves. You will condition your muscles, improve your balance and mobility, and strengthen your bone density. Performing daily activities will become easier. 

Improve Body Composition 

Regular exercise will reduce your body fat and improve your muscle tone. Not only will you look better, leaner, and stronger, but you’ll also reduce your risk for obesity related health issues. 

Think Better

Regular exercise improves cognitive health and reduces the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Exercise is not just about physical health, but also about mental and brain health. 

Develop a Healthy Habit

Just like we brush our teeth every day, we should consider exercise in the same light.

It’s good for us and we should schedule intentional activity into our daily lives.

We shouldn’t ask ourselves “Should I move my body today?” because the answer to that question should always be yes. Instead, we should ask How will I move my body today?” and we should balance out our weekly movement.

Some days it might be a walk around the neighborhood, other days we might go to the gym and lift some heavier weights, another day we might take a yoga or barre class and another we might take a cycling or rowing class.

Every type of movement provides a different benefit so mix it up. Carve the time out so you can work every fitness component including cardiovascular, muscle and flexibility so you can be at your best in every way. 

If you are just committing to your health and fitness, start small. Develop the habit of doing something physical every day. You could start with a morning or after dinner walk every day and build from there. Once you are consistent enough to start experiencing the incredible benefits of the magic pill of daily exercise, that will be enough motivation to keep you going. You deserve to look and feel your best!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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Beverages are an important part of how we mingle. Non-alcoholic options are getting better, but for many years your only choice was something pink and syrupy sweet that came with an umbrella. Whether you’re trying to support friends who don’t drink, or if you aren’t drinking for whatever reason, there is now a grown-up option that treats you like an adult. 

Launched in 2015, Seedlip is the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit. Originally available in the UK only, it has been embraced by the world’s best bars, restaurants, hotels and retailers across the globe. It is now in 40 countries and is the world’s best selling non-alcoholic spirit. Seedlip lets you make captivating cocktails that have complexity and character quickly and with little effort.  

The story begins 300 years ago, when it was common for physicians to distill herbal remedies using copper stills, harnessing the power of nature & alchemy to solve medical maladies. One such physician, John French, published The Art of Distillation in 1651, to document these non-alcoholic recipes. This is where founder Ben Branson got his inspiration. 

I first heard about Seedlip shortly after its launch and was so intrigued I spent the next four years trying unsuccessfully to order it every time we went out. Once it became available, I had a bottle shipped from the UK, so I could finally try it. I was especially excited when they started stocking it at select stores in the US, and you can find it locally at BevMo and Total Wine & More. 

This past week, I joined an online Seedlip Master Class led by Ben Branson. He described the six-week process that involves bespoke maceration, copper pot distillation, and blending and filtration for each individual ingredient before it is blended & bottled in England. The resulting beverage gets its name from the basket used by farmers to hand sow seeds, a ‘seedlip’. There was a lively demo and discussion from non-alcoholic drink expert Bjorn Taylor. I couldn’t wait to start experimenting with Seedlip to make summery drinks.

There are three different flavor profiles of Seedlip. Garden 108 is a complex, herbal blend of individually copper pot distilled peas, hay and traditional English herbs. Spice 94 is a blend of aromatic Jamaican Allspice berry & Cardamom distillates with two barks & a bright citrus finish. And Grove 42, a sophisticated, bright, citrus blend of Mediterranean Orange, Lemon Peel, Lemongrass and Ginger with a dry finish. The numerical portion of each name represents something significant to that variety. For Garden 108, it refers to the 108 days to sow, grow and harvest the English peas.  

Seedlip is sugar-free and sweetener-free and is also allergen free for the standard allergens. You can keep it sugar-free by mixing it with sparkling water, or you can use natural alternatives like honey or agave, or fruit juices such as pineapple, orange, or apple mixed with sparkling water to control the sweetness. Seedlip should always be mixed, with tonic, seltzer, ginger ale, or as the base in cocktails, rather than sipped neat. Served over lots of ice, it’s a flavorful, sophisticated option.

This truly unique beverage lets you create distinctive cocktails that complement the food and the occasion as well as the company. Seedlip varieties also lend themselves to the season. You can match the flavor profile of your Seedlip with locally sourced ingredients that play well with it. For summer, I like Garden 108 and Grove 42. 

Most cocktails call for 2 ounces of Seedlip, but you can use more or less, depending on your taste. You can also batch Seedlip and make pitchers of your desired beverage for a crowd pleasing option.  Although it is non-alcoholic, you could certainly add alcohol to your Seedlip beverages. Thinking ahead to fall, you could make a very interesting drink with pumpkin hard cider and Seedlip Spice, or keep it non-alcoholic with apple or cherry cider. Seedlip can be mixed with other ingredients and frozen to make granita, sorbet or slushies, but you shouldn’t put the sealed bottle in the freezer because gas can build up. Once opened, Seedlip does not need to be refrigerated. Store in a cool place out of direct sunlight and enjoy your bottle within the recommended six months.

Elevate your experience and make a great cocktail that doesn’t happen to contain alcohol. Enjoy and share a delicious beverage. Cheers!

Seedlip Mary

Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and top with ice. Gently pour cocktail from small tin into large tin, doing this a few times until drink is mixed well. Pour into serving glass, top with ice and garnish. 

Garden Ginger Highball

Method: build over ice

Garden and Tonic

Method: build over ice

Garden Party

Method: shake all ingredients. Strain over ice. 

Garden Booch

method: build over ice, topping Seedlip with kombucha.


– seedlipdrinks.com


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An important question to ask is whether skinny and unfit is more healthy than fat and fit.

One researcher, Dr. Steven Blair and his colleagues at the Cooper Fitness Institute, conducted a large fitness study focusing on this exact question. They recruited over 25,000 men and more than 7,000 women ages 20-88. Subjects were followed for 7-8 years and underwent extensive physical exams, including…. Treadmill Testing – Height – Weight – Blood Pressure – Cholesterol Levels – Smoking Habits – Medical Histories.

Of the 601 men and 89 women who died during the follow-up period, the biggest difference between the subjects who died and those who didn’t was not fatness but fitness. When other factors were controlled for, it was found that those with the lowest fitness levels had double the mortality rate than those whose fitness was medium or high. 

Dr. Blair’s study indicates clearly that fitness is critical to our overall health and fitness.

Some specific benefits associated with following a regular exercise program are as follows:

Fat Versus FitIncreased aerobic capacity…

…..by 30%

Increased bone density

In one controlled study of 25 women aged 49-61, lumbar spine bone mineral density was significantly higher in those who jogged or played volleyball than in those who had no regular physical activity.

Another 12 month study of more than 200 post-menopausal women found that those who walked 7.5 miles per week had a higher average bone mineral density of the trunk, legs and whole body than those who walked less than 1 mile per week. 

Improved body composition

A cross-sectional study of female athletes and sedentary women, aged 18 to 69, found no difference in body fat percentage and fat-free mass between the youngest and older athletes; in addition, the resting metabolic rate of the older exercisers was closer to that of the young athletes than to that of sedentary, age-matched women.

Another study followed 507 women, aged 42-50 years old, for 3 years. Those who were least active at baseline and those whose activity declined during the study period gained the most weight.

Reduced risk for coronary artery disease

Population studies have generally shown a strong inverse relationship between physical activity and heart disease risk and between cardiorespiratory fitness and risk of heart disease.

For example, a study of nearly 1,500 Swedish women found that those who were inactive during leisure time had a nearly threefold greater incidence of coronary artery disease than those who were active

Another 8 year study of more than 3,000 women showed that an increase in aerobic capacity resulted in a decrease in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease

Provides a natural high and improves energy

Enhanced sleep quality

Improved posture

Improved functional ability

Improved sexual patterns

Reduces hot flashes and night sweats

A controlled, cross-sectional, population-based study of over 1,600 women found that sedentary women were twice as likely to report hot flashes as physically active women.

Another study reported a drop in the incidence of hot flashes immediately following a 45-minute aerobic workout

Reduced episodes of depression

The message is clear.

Even if your body composition hasn’t changed because of your exercise program, the benefits of regular exercise are still present.

The positive impacts associated with exercise extend beyond just the physical and include mental, emotional and cognitive health. If you’re having a difficult time adhering to an exercise program, just start with walking every day. Walk your neighborhood and build from there. You will never regret it and your body and brain will thank you for it. 

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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Have you ever wondered why cats’ coats in general and yours in purr-ticular change color?

Why Cats’ Coats Change Color

If so, consider some of the paws-ible reasons for this feline phenomenon.


1) Changes in temperature: Some cats, like Oriental Himalayans and Siamese, known as pointed breeds, are genetically predisposed to changes in their fur color depending on the temperature of their skin. Their skin is naturally cooler at their bodies’ extremities – faces, paws and tails – which partly accounts for their white or light cream bodies and darker-hued faces, paws and tails. The temperature of the environment in which any cat lives can also play a role in her coloring. Owners may notice that their cats are darker during the cold months of winter and lighter during the warm months of spring and summer.

Why Cats’ Coats Change Color Why Cats’ Coats Change Color

2) The sun’s rays: If your cat — as most do — LOVES the sun, her fur will change color and fade because of her prolonged exposure to its rays. Most noticeable in black cats whose coats lighten and turn “rusty,” it results from the sun’s UV rays destroying the dark pigment, melanin, in their bodies that protects their delicate skin from being burned. Thankfully, however, cats are constantly replacing melanin, meaning their fur will eventually return to its normal shade, but they’ll have to go through an entire shedding cycle before this happens. Nor does this type of fading apply only to outdoor cats. The coats of indoor cats who spend too much time stretched out on sunny window perches will also fade.


3) Lack of important nutrients: Dark-haired cats may appear lighter or redder than usual due to an insufficient amount of the amino acid tyrosine in their diet. Considered a non-essential amino acid since it’s created within their own bodies, cats require twice as much tyrosine as their bodies can produce (the average cat needs over 5g of tyrosine daily). Tyrosine is needed to make melanin, and if cats don’t have enough of it in their diet, their fur can begin turning a reddish hue. Similarly, a diet high in such elements as copper or zinc may also cause their coats to change color.

Why Cats’ Coats Change Color

4) The natural aging process: If your cat is 10 years or older, her body will automatically begin producing less melanin. But unless her coat is pure black as opposed to either a paler coat or one with stripes, you may not notice the change until her coat starts turning from its normal color to a browner and then, finally, to a grayer tone. Gray hairs customarily appear first around a cat’s muzzle and fan out from there.


5) Stress and physical pain: While still controversial, some experts believe that stress or pain may be responsible for turning a cat’s fur gray. Such premature graying is linked to heightened levels of noradrenaline, a hormone constantly released by a cat’s body in small doses. Noradrenaline is connected to the nervous system, and during times of intense stress or pain, it will, literally and figuratively, flood her body.


If, on the other hand, your cat’s fur has changed color seemingly overnight, there could be a medical reason for it, and you should arrange to have her seen by your vet.

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When my kids were small, we would end every school year with a bucket list. We’d sit together and make a plan, listing all the things we wanted to see and do over the summer. Now is the time to make your summer bucket list. Let your kids stay up way past their bedtime to look at the stars, bask in blissfully bare feet, and play games in the grass. Open the windows and let the breeze blow in. Ride a bike. Embrace the campfire, or the grill in your back yard. Get out the garden hose and run in the sprinkles. Set up a comfy chair in the shade of a tree and read a great book. Go for a picnic. Pick berries. Go to the library. Make homemade pickles and jam. Visit the zoo. Pick some fresh flowers. Get out the sidewalk chalk, blow some bubbles, drape the kitchen table with a blanket and camp out underneath. Make ice cream and freshly squeezed lemonade. Make memories. 

Here’s to an old-fashioned Fourth. Hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, homemade potato salad, and a freshly baked pie. Add to the festivities with some new dishes to round out your fare. Both are great paired with barbecue and are also easy to make and take to a cookout.

It’s hard to go wrong with Classic Succotash. With exuberant vegetables at their peak flavor, this traditional Southern side is the perfect potluck or picnic dish. Practical and easy on your budget, succotash lets you elevate an abundance of summer produce in an effortless way. A delicious mix of vegetables and peas, besides the traditional lima beans, onions, corn, okra and fresh herbs, it can include whatever else you might have on hand. Brimming with flavor and color, this humble dish makes good use of what’s available and can serve as a side or main dish, depending on your needs. Skip any ingredients you don’t like or have, and swap as you please. My favorite swap is edamame. You can cook frozen edamame in the microwave in much less time than it takes to cook beans on the stove, saving time and keeping your house cool as well. Without the bacon it’s a great plant-based recipe to have in your rotation all summer long. 

Give your usual salad a little barbecue style with this Chopped Salad with Cornbread Croutons.  It’s a nice, fresh option and it couldn’t be easier. Use cornbread mix and your favorite bottled ranch dressing to speed things up, or if you have time, make your own. I used canned black beans in place of the black-eyed peas and because the cornbread was so perfect out of the oven, I opted not to toast the cornbread cubes. They were golden brown, dense, and cut into pillowy little squares, just perfect for topping salad. 

Have fun, live large, and make the most of your summer. Have a fabuluous Fourth!

Classic Succotash  

Combine lima beans, yellow onion, thyme and garlic in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until beans are tender. Drain beans, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Discard yellow onion, thyme and garlic.

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat for 7 minutes or until crisp, turning once. Remove bacon, placing on paper towels to drain; reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. 

Sauté onion in hot bacon drippings over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Stir in corn and cook, stirring often, until corn is tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, cooked lima beans and 3/4 cup reserved cooking liquid. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in butter and remaining 3 ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon. 


Chopped Salad with Cornbread Croutons

Preheat oven to 350º F. Spread the cornbread cubes on a small baking pan. Bake until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Let cool.

Combine lettuce, cabbage, black-eyed peas, corn, tomatoes and pimientos in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Serve topped with red onion and cornbread croutons. 

-recipe by Justin Sutherland, Food Network magazine

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What weighs more, a pound of fat or a pound of muscle? That’s a trick question because a pound is a pound, so a pound of muscle is the same weight as a pound of fat.

The difference is a pound of fat takes up more space in your body and is larger than a pound of muscle.

It’s why you can have two people who weigh the same look completely different because muscle is denser than fat. Someone who is more muscular will look leaner and smaller than someone at the same weight who carries more body fat. Muscle is also more metabolically active and offers function, support, strength, endurance, and movement. In contrast, although fat does provide some benefits, excessive fat on our body is hard on our joints and can lead to obesity and heart disease.

Why Does Body Composition Matter?

When it comes to weight, fat and muscle are not equal. Muscle is better for the body in multiple ways. It’s one of the reasons that Body Mass Index (BMI), a health assessment tool that utilizes weight and height only as an indicator of health, is a very crude and poor measurement tool.

Someone who is more muscular will exhibit a less healthy BMI score at the same height, which is faltered. It’s also why the scale doesn’t provide an accurate assessment of your health since it does not provide any information about body composition and how much of your weight is body fat, lean tissue, bone, or water.   

With that said, you should not become obsessed with your body fat percentage. It’s important to understand that there are numerous methods for estimating body fat percentage.

Here are a few of the most popular approaches for estimating body fat percentage: 

Skin Calipers

The fat pinch test

Girth Measurements

Measure the circumference around various body parts and extrapolate that to body fat percentage using algorithms

Underwater Weighing

This test, once considered the gold standard for body fat assessment, is often performed in a university or laboratory setting. Subjects are weighed on a scale underwater and on land. Body fat percentage is calculated based on the variation of buoyancy and weights of various tissues under water and on land. 

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)

This test involves holding onto or standing on a devise that runs a low-level electrical impulse through your body and then calculates body fat % based on the conductivity of various tissues.   

Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA)

Considered the Gold standard of body fat assessment, you lie on a table while a machine arm passes over your entire body, which emits a high and a low energy X-ray beam. By measuring the absorption of each beam into parts of the body, technicians can get readings for bone mineral density, lean body mass and fat mass. 

There are pros and cons to each technique, and none are 100% accurate. Depending on the test conducted, the same subject can receive a drastically different body fat percentage on the exact same day. There are also errors with reproducibility. For example, with some tests, you can measure multiple times on the same day on the same person, and each time come up with a different body fat percentage.

The only precise way to measure body fat percentage is by extracting all the tissues in the body, measuring them, and then determining how much is fat in comparison to other tissues such as bone, muscle, and organs – but no one is going to sign up for that assessment!   

The reason it’s important to emphasize these points is because many people are getting stuck on their body fat percentage value when in fact, the science is not without error. One researcher jokingly reported that the most accurate body fat assessment tool is to stand in front of a mirror naked while holding a stopwatch, jump up and down a few times, stop and then record how long it takes for your fat to stop shaking. As you become more fit, the fat will stop shaking sooner.   

On a more serious note, if you’d like to measure your progress, we suggest utilizing a variety of measuring tools to get a more accurate assessment of your body composition. For example, you could take your girth measurements, get weighed, take a couple photos of yourself in form fitting clothing from a variety of angles and, complete a body fat assessment test. The more tests you perform, the more accurate the assessment of your current body composition. Instead of focusing on a number, just focus on the change within your body. Don’t compare to anyone else’s figures and don’t focus on a suggested or target body fat percentage.    

It’s also important to note that many studies are reporting that exercising and eating healthy are more important for your health than how much body fat you store. This means you can store extra body fat and still be healthy. So, even if you don’t lose a ton of body fat, committing to exercise and clean eating will improve your overall health, reduce your risk for health-related disorders and improve your longevity!   

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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If you want someone to smile, say “peaches”.  It works for photographers, and it will work for you, too, if you’re serving up a dish featuring this enticing blushy fruit. Juicy, sun-ripened peaches are easy to pick right now, whether you do your picking at a roadside stand, U-pick orchard, or your favorite grocery. With peaches on hand, there’s no reason you can’t make something delightful right this minute. Here are 3 healthy recipes made with sweet, juicy peaches. Simple and delicious, they’re a quick and easy way to take a bite of what’s fresh.  

Peaches and nectarines are similar stone fruits, but nectarines are smaller, firmer and smoother than peaches. Peaches are better suited to baking and softer-textured recipes, whereas nectarines stay firm and hold up better for cooking. Nectarines are almost genetically identical to peaches, with the exception of one gene, and that’s the one with the fuzz on it. A nectarine is just a peach without the fuzz. 

Pair peaches with your favorite rosé wine and make Peach Ice Pops. Vibrantly peach colored, they are light and refreshing. A fun way to start, or end, a summer meal and a perfect treat for the hot days ahead. Using the entire peach, rather than just mixing fruit juice with wine, adds fiber, making these a frozen treat that’s better for you. 

Grilled Nectarines are an easy way to make something fussy looking without fussing at all. Served with orange zested ricotta and a drizzle of honey, they’re an easy appetizer, side or dessert. For an easy dinner, grill nectarines or peaches with chicken and add pesto. Brush fruit halves with pesto and grill, cut side down, until softened and warmed through, about 2-3 minutes. Grill chicken until lightly charred and golden brown, about 7-9 minutes, brushing chicken with pesto while it grills.  Turn and brush other side with pesto, continuing to grill until cooked through, about another 5-7 minutes or until internal temperature measures 165º F. Plate a generous mound of arugula on a serving platter and squeeze lemon juice over all. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Top with grilled chicken and peaches and drizzle with additional pesto.

Light and refreshing, Peach and Cucumber Salad makes the most of your deliciously ripe peaches. Combined with thin strips of cucumber and fresh mint and basil, it’s a snapshot of summer on a plate. It takes just a few minutes, but it’s oh so good. If you want to make it heartier, you can add crumbled feta, goat cheese, or cotija and some toasted nuts or seeds of your choice. And while we’re talking salads, why not add some peach or nectarine slices to your caprese? 

Try one, or all, of these and enjoy the sweet taste of summer.

Peach Ice Pops

Purée peaches, wine, lime juice, honey and salt in a blender until smooth. Using a 12-pop ice mold, divide purée among molds, filling to 1/2 inch from top. Freeze for 1 hour, then add sticks and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. 

Per Pop 39 cal, 6.5g carb, 0.5 g fiber, 6 g sugars (2 g added sugars)

Grilled Nectarines

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 teaspoon orange zest and salt. Stir together, then set aside. 

Heat grill to medium. Cut nectarines in half and sprinkle cut sides with coconut sugar. Grill, cut sides down, until slightly charred and beginning to caramelize, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and continue to grill, covered, 1 minute more. Transfer to individual plates or bowls.

Spoon ricotta over nectarines, then sprinkle with chopped pistachios, additional orange zest and a drizzle of honey, if desired. 

Per Serving 124 cal, 5 g pro, 18 g carb, 13 g sugars (2 g added sugars), 4.5 g fat (2.5 g sat fat), 16 mg cool, 146 mg sodium

Peach and Cucumber Salad

Combine olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk together. Stir in shallot and red chili. Add peaches or nectarines and let sit, tossing occasionally, for 5 minutes. Cut cucumber into long, thin strips using a vegetable peeler. Fold cucumber into peaches along with fresh basil and mint.  

Per Serving 100 cal, 1 g pro, 9.5g carb, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugars (0 g added sugars), 7 g fat (1g sat fat), 0 mg cool, 123 mg sodium

– Prevention Magazine, July 2022


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Summer months often have us busy with kids, holidays, vacations, camping, and BBQs and many struggle to find the time to get to the gym and maintain their workout routine.

No worries and no excuses because there are literally hundreds of exercises you can do anywhere with no equipment whatsoever. Body weight exercise is a lifesaver during any busy time when a workout at the gym just isn’t going to happen.

Here’s a simple full body workout that you can do for your entire body:

Complete each of the following exercises for 12 reps.

Then perform each exercise again for 10 reps.

Repeat dropping the reps by 2 until you complete the entire workout with 2 reps of each exercise. 

12 Reverse lunges each leg

Start by standing on the spot and then stepping the right foot backwards dropping the knee towards the ground and assuring that the front/left knee is positioned over the ankle or the foot. Then push back to the starting position pushing from the leg in front and using your glutes/buttock muscles to gain power from the deep lunge position back to the starting position. When lunging, keep your body weight positioned over the front leg – this is your working leg. Maintain proper posture and keep your abdominals contracted. Finish the set and then complete on the other leg. 

Quick Bodyweight Workout

12 Pushups

Lie on your stomach. Position your hands on the floor a few inches beside your shoulder. Make sure that your elbows are directly over top or to the inside of your wrists. Keep your abdominals contracted and your back in its neutral position. Now slowly push up, then slowly return to the starting position. Pushups can be done from the toes or knees. 

Quick Bodyweight Workout

12 Single leg bridges each leg

Lie on your back with your knees bent and one foot flat on the floor and the other leg suspended in the air. Tighten your abdominal and buttock muscles and slowly lift your buttocks off the floor until your body weight is resting on the top of your shoulder blades and your knees and shoulders are in a straight line. Keep your hips square to the ceiling. Try to avoid letting your pelvis rotate to one side. Finish the set and then continue on the other leg. 

Quick Bodyweight Workout

12 Double leg lifts

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and ensure your low back is in a neutral stabilized position. There should be no major space between your low back and the floor. Hold this position throughout the exercise as you slowly lift both legs off the floor a few inches. Be sure that the movement of the leg occurs from the hip joint, not the knee joint. Be sure that your head stays down for this one and that your back is braced throughout the exercise so that there is no movement in the spine. 

Quick Bodyweight Workout

12 Oblique crunches each side

Place your hands behind your head to lightly support the weight of your head. Keep your chin away from your chest and focus your vision at about 45 degrees into the ceiling. Avoid looking straight up to the ceiling or towards the opposite wall. Now slowly lift your torso up on an angle. Simultaneously, lift the opposite leg off the floor. An oblique crunch does not need to involve a large twisting action. Contract your abdominals on each repetition. Complete the set on one side and then switch to the other side.

Quick Bodyweight Workout

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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To ease the discomfort of teething, kittens are notorious for nibbling and chewing, chomping and biting on anything within reach of their tiny paws – including your fingers and toes.

Tips to Help Teething Kittens

Kittens invariably begin to lose their baby teeth at around the age of nine weeks, while their adult teeth won’t have grown in fully until they’re between five and six months old. What more purr-fect time then, for every pet parent to teach their kitten some early “table” manners, i.e., what is and what isn’t appropriate when it comes to chewing and biting.


Consider the five following suggestions to make your new life together ever so much easier.

  1. Once solely a doggy’s domain, chew toys are now fabulously feline friendly. Manufacturers, near and far, produce toys specifically designed to provide appropriate “targets” for those budding kitten teeth. Choose from a vast array of these treasures ranging from cloth toys that can be chilled to ease your kitten’s tender gums and firmer chews that will exercise her jaw muscles to nylon-based toys made expressly for teething.

Tips to Help Teething Kittens

  1. Discover the wonders of interactive playtime and integrate it into your own daily routine. Why, you may ask? Every teething – and growing — kitten requires vigorous, interactive play because it not only helps her work off excess energy, it also helps develop her balance and build up her strength. Using one or more of a variety of specially designed teaser toys at least twice a day for 10 to 15 minutes each time will both give your kitten a suitable object for her chewing and reinforce the growing pet-parent bond between you.
  2. Of utmost importance: whenever you’re petting your kitten, make certain to keep your hands away from her mouth. Follow this same rule when playing with her. Never use your fingers as objects she can all too easily and confusedly consider fair game for her teeth. No mixed signals, paw-lease!
  3. Be prepared to use the word “Ow!” if your teething kitten happens to bite you. Why? Because whenever the play between two cats becomes too rowdy or rough, the victim will emit a high-pitched cry, causing the aggressor to back away, and, ultimately flee. Say “Ow!” in a high-pitched but not overly loud voice, then promptly put your biting kitten on the floor. Referred to as the “Ow” and Down” technique, using it consistently will teach your wayward kitten that biting on her part means no playing or petting on your part.

Tips to Help Teething Kittens

  1. Always ensure that, wherever you are, you have several chew toys close by. This way, if you’re sitting with your teething kitten and notice her expression suddenly signal, “I’m in the mood to bite something,” you can swiftly hand her a teething-appropriate toy, thereby taking your fingers safely off the proverbial menu.

In short, by lovingly, patiently and consistently reinforcing the message that only certain items are reserved for your teething kitten’s nibbles and chews, chomps and bites, you’re paving the way for the most purr-fect of futures together.


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Celebrate dad’s day with a special dinner. Let him pick the main dish and have his choice of dessert. You fill in the blanks with sides and a really good salad. Whatever else you happen to be cooking, here’s what to serve with it. 

Start with a big wedge salad topped with thick, chunky blue cheese dressing, just like the kind you get at a steak house. You can make individual serving plates or arrange the wedges on a platter and serve this family style. Sprinkled with cracked black pepper, bacon and halved grape tomatoes, it’s a perfect start to his meal.

For a side, serve Grilled Cheesy Loaded Potatoes. Topped with sour cream, melted cheese, and bacon, they are just like his favorite fully loaded potato, but cooked outdoors on the grill. Everything cooks in one skillet, so there’s only one dish to wash, and the recipe is incredibly easy, so you can enjoy dad’s day, too. There are instructions below for both gas and charcoal grills, but if you are new to grilling or unsure about the specifics, consult your grill’s manufacturer’s guide for best results.  After the potatoes cooked, I used a lid and drained off the extra bacon grease before adding the cheese. You can make this on the stove top as well, but taking it outdoors means there’s no kitchen clean up!

With herbs at their flavorful best right now, chimichurri is a great accompaniment. It’s a healthy way to give zingy, bright flavor and color to beef, chicken, or fish and again, it’s quick and easy to do. If he’s a steak guy, consider a flat iron or flank steak. The flat iron steak is the second most tender cut of beef, after the petit filet mignon — and it’s a lot less expensive. Make your chimichurri a day ahead. Store it in a covered bowl and let it sit in the fridge overnight to fully develop the flavors. Take it out ahead of time and let it warm to room temperature before serving. Offer it alongside whatever you are grilling and let everyone spoon on as much as they’d like, or slice your meat and pour a generous ribbon of chimichurri directly over the top.  

Honor all the men in your life, whether it’s your own wonderful dad, your devoted husband, a doting uncle, beloved grandfather, or those special men who have been like a dad. Happy Father’s Day!

Steak House Wedge 

Cook bacon, using any method you like, until crisp. This can be done a day ahead and kept covered and refrigerated.

Make blue cheese dressing following recipe below.

Rinse iceberg lettuce well and cut into 8 wedges. Arrange wedges onto individual serving dishes or in a large rectangular baking dish or serving plate.  

Drizzle dressing by generous spoonfuls over lettuce wedges. Top with bacon pieces and diced tomato. Garnish with additional chopped fresh chives and blue cheese crumbles.

Thick and Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing 

Lea Ann Brown

Combine all ingredients, except blue cheese, in a bowl and whisk together until blended. Add crumbled blue cheese and fold in with a spatula to mix well. 

Grilled Cheesy Loaded Potatoes

Prepare grill for direct and indirect heat. For gas grills (with 3 or more burners), turn all burners to medium-high heat. After about 15 minutes, turn off one side burner, then turn remaining burners down to medium. For charcoal grills, bank one chimney starter-full of lit and ashed-over charcoal briquettes to one side of the grill. Set up a drip pan on the other side to avoid flare-ups.

Heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet over direct heat and add bacon. Cook, stirring often, until bacon is crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel lined plate; set aside.

Add potatoes to pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to coat potatoes with bacon fat, then move pan to indirect heat and cover grill. Cook, uncovering grill and stirring every 5 minutes, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with Cheddar then move back to direct heat. Cook, uncovered, until potato bottoms are golden and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill. Let cool 10 minutes. Add dollops of sour cream, sprinkle with scallions and reserved bacon and serve.



Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator overnight to fully develop flavors. Return to room temperature before serving. 

recipe by Matt Abdoo

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5 Action Steps to Live Longer!

How would you like to add 14 years to your life?

We often don’t think about longevity until we have a health scare or someone close to us is diagnosed with cancer or suffers a heart attack. It is said that ‘when we are young, we will sacrifice our health for wealth and then when older, we’ll sacrifice wealth for good health.’ If we are sick and suffering from disease, it makes life very difficult. 

The good news is that a Harvard study published in Circulation found that a woman who adopts the following 5 habits at 50 years old would live 14 years longer and a man would add 12.2 years to his life compared to those who do not commit to these healthy behaviors. Many other studies have corroborated these findings. 

5 Action Steps to Live Longer

1 – Adhere to a healthy diet

The Mediterranean Diet, a diet high in produce, legumes, fish, nuts, whole grains and healthy fats, and low in red and processed meats, sugar, salt and saturated fats tends to get the highest marks in terms of ease to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease.

2 – Exercise regularly

It is recommended to get at least 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity to vigorous physical activity.

3 – Do not smoke

The lowest risk is found in those who have never smoked.

4 – Limit alcohol intake

The lowest risk is found in women who drink less than one alcoholic drink per day and men who drink less than two alcoholic drinks per day

5 – Maintain a healthy body weight

Ideal body weight with the lowest risk was determined using Body Mass Index with a value of 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2.

Few individuals in the study followed all five behaviors, and good news, there were benefits associated with adopting just one of the behaviors. However, the more healthy initiatives you adopt, the greater the benefit, and those who followed all five behaviors, lived longer. 

It’s important to note that not all five behaviors are created equally. If you had to choose one habit to adopt immediately that would have the greatest impact on your health and longevity, it would be to stop smoking or never start. 

Where to start?

You don’t have to focus on all five areas immediately. You could choose one, two or more habits and focus your energy there.

It’s important to remember that every workout you do, and every healthy choice you make for what goes into your mouth, will take you closer to living your best life. Even a small success, will give you the confidence and self-esteem to know you can accomplish the next goal.

It is all about “Results Momentum”.  If you set a small goal and accomplish that goal – even a very small action step – when you complete it, you have succeeded. This will give you momentum so the next goal becomes that much easier.

Think of this process as a series of very small baby steps and each one takes you closer and closer to living a long, healthy life! Putting years into your life and life into your years! You got this!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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Hello to all, Community Growth Radio(CGR)/Northwest Audio Information Service has added a 4th audio stream, This Audio/Radio Reading Service which has served our area since 2013, has added as mentioned a NEW audio stream which is on 7/24/365(Some Public Places or places that have a firewall that may block it).

This Audio Service(CGR 4-En Espanol)provides News, Information. Health, Wellness, and Educational Programming. This network is the only full-time Spanish audio network that has programming for our Blind, Visually Impaired, and Disabled listeners west of Colorado. CGR/NWAIS is the only such network in SW Washington and Oregon.

It just has news and such as mentioned, but has NO music and that way does not or will not compete with the local/regional Spanish stations(AM/FM or Internet), just programming that is very target specific. This network gets programming from ACB Radio, Program Share(IAAIS), Pacifica Radio, and others. It is easy to tune in. CGR is a member of The International Association of Audio Information Services, ACB Radio, Pacifica Radio, and other related Networks.  Here below are the links and they do work! Thank You..


CGR Radio 1 News-Info-Community Programming


CGR Radio 2-Arts-Entertainment-Community Programming 


CGR 3-VetNet Radio for Blind, Visually Impaired and or Disabled Veterans.


CGR Radio 4-Spanish Speaking service for the Blind and Disabled with Community-News-Information.


(you may have to copy the above listen links and paste them in your browser). The Listen links do work but may be blocked by a firewall in public places.

CGR NWAIS Radio in Vancouver Washington, is a full-time audio information service for The Blind, Visually Impaired, The Disabled, and Veterans by providing News, Information, Community, Educational and Entertainment intended mainly for those above and from 54-to 90 with target-specific programming as well offering newspaper-book and magazine readings by in-home volunteers.

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I am glad to serve my community and hopefully, the listener will benefit from listening to this audio service(CGR-Community Growth Radio)since 2013 these online and free streams provide target-specific programming for The Blind, Visually Impaired, The Disabled, and Veterans…Though to this day all Radio/Audio Reading Services are very relevant and useful to their listeners.

And many do use it and the goal is to provide News, Information, Community Issues, Book-Magazine-Newspaper Readings, and more, and still, co-exists with many formats of options, CGR Radio/NWAIS is a member of The International Association of Audio Information Services. Many have asked what is a Radio Reading Service..(you may have to copy and paste the link to your browser).


This Radio Network is growing in programming and offering more than just your typical RRS programming and has been since 2013, it offers programming for the blind and the disabled in over 40 Languages, and it has added more programming than other local/regional AM/FM/LPFM or internet broadcasters that are not normally offered.

I have always stated That CGR/NWAIS is NOT a nonprofit or claimed to be, the operational funding has been self-supportive and has on occasion accepted free-will, non-tax-deductible donations(PayPal)in order to stay on and it pays for the basic bills such as Power, Internet, and related operations.

It always has been local and owned by me since then, CGR has no formal sponsors but does run sponsor mentions as thanks for their moral support or in 100 percent barter. CGR does belong to several radio networks and independent programming sources and with permission. This radio network does have the capacity of broadcasting live from a location(with a two-week notice and the requirements to set up and properly broadcast from a location).

Community Growth Radio(Northwest Audio Information Service)does have a business license and has retained it just in case of a formal sponsor and is(DBA)Northwest Audio Information Service with The State of Washington and The IRS. This Network does have a large reach via several apps, 3rd party non-commercial FM broadcasters via their SCA option AND SCA is still in use(67Khz)on 2 stations that carry CGR 1 Radio and this network is one of 30 similar services in The United States and CGR 3 VetNet Radio is a full-time radio network like the other two and it does have in-home volunteers for reading material.


These Networks offer a wide variety of programming from Educational, Community, and Entertainment..THE streams DO work(via)Voscast and are on, but they may be blocked due to a firewall in some public places..Here are the links…and they do work and how to listen directly to one of the 3 streams with different programming…THANK YOU…CGR Radio is NOT owned or operated by any other LPFM/AM/FM or Internet station….and to clarify CGR Radio has partnered with Jenny Brown of The Royal Oaks Country Club…and CGR NWAIS Radio is the only network such as this in Western Washington and Oregon. Thank You, Susan Galaviz(KXRW/KXRY Radio)and Jenny Brown…

CGR Radio DOES not charge for nonprofits or to broadcast live from a location that is non-profit or a free event and the station is self-contained (ask for details)and requirements to set up for a broadcast…* With all the 3 streams, apps and 3rd party broadcasters combined this network DOES have a large reach that is diverse and inclusive and equal.


CGR Radio 1 News-Info-Community Programming


CGR Radio 2-Arts-Entertainment-Community Programming 


CGR 3-VetNet Radio for Blind, Visually Impaired, and or Disabled Veterans.


(you may have to copy the above listen links and paste them into your browser). The Listen links do work but may be blocked by a firewall in public places.

CGR NWAIS Radio in Vancouver Washington, is a full-time audio information service for The Blind, Visually Impaired, The Disabled, and Veterans by providing News, Information, Community, Educational and Entertainment intended mainly for those above and from 54-to 90 with target-specific programming as well offering newspaper-book and magazine readings by in-home volunteers.(Legal Note)This network is not associated with any other non-profit or J.Cohen, C.Forhan, P.Robinson, J.Barber, KIEV FM(and staff), but has solely been owned by me since its first day…THANK YOU again…

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As creatures of habit who crave their creature comforts, cats don’t always make the best road trip companions. But by mapping out kitty’s trip together with your own, you can curtail her bad “backseat driver” behavior, and turn a potentially negative experience into a purr-fectly paws-itive one.

Feline Friendly Road Trips

Consider the following suggestions to smooth the way for everyone – human and feline:


Remain calm. Because cats sense our stress, don’t raise your voice or display any overt signs of your own pre-trip tension.


Should your trip be longer than a day, make reservations ahead of time solely at pet-friendly motels or hotels.


Carry your most up-to-date vet paperwork, showing, at the very least, that your cat is current on her rabies shots.


Never medicate an overly anxious cat without first consulting your vet. Many OTC calming agents are dangerous for cats, and if you do use a medication prescribed by your vet, always try it out at home first to test for any reactions and/or side effects.


If your cat tends to get car sick, avoid feeding her between two and three hours prior to your departure.


Train your cat to wear a harness so that she can remain safely harnessed inside the car. Her harness should bear a nametag with all pertinent ID (microchipping is, of course, the best ID), and a leash should be clipped to it whenever you remove kitty from her carrier or from the car itself.


Have your cat travel comfortably by keeping her in a large carrier or dog crate, allowing her room enough to stretch and move around during the drive. Set the crate or carrier in a well-ventilated part of the car, out of excessive drafts and away from direct sunlight.


Drape a sheet over the crate or carrier, leaving one side open, to help her feel more snug, safe and secure.


Place a familiar blanket, several cushions, or a worn T-shirt with your scent on it inside the crate or carrier. Rotate various cat toys along the way (this works particularly well with a young kitten) to keep her stimulated and occupied.

Feline Friendly Road Trips

Line the bottom with pee pads as a precaution and put a small, disposable litter pan (aluminum baking pans work well) inside the carrier or crate, and ensure you have a generous supply of both to last the entire trip. Stock up on sanitized wipes and strong plastic bags to handle any and all “litter box” accidents.


If your cat has an appetite, feed her the same food that she eats at home and keep her water bowl only partly filled to avoid spilling.Feline Friendly Road Trips


Never let your cat out of the car at “rest stops” unless she’s well trained to walk on a harness and leash. And above all, never leave kitty unattended — on either hot or cold days.


As they say, forewarned is forearmed. Hopefully then, armed with these few tips, you and your cat can share a road trip to remember – fondly.

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Some additional notes: The intended audience normally for Audio/Radio Reading services are those who are blind, visually impaired, those who cannot read or hold printed material, and those who rely on information-news-community-book and or magazine readings. Programming includes education and entertainment.

Programming comes from many sources such as program producers, I.A.A.I.S(The International Association of Audio Information Services)via Program Share, Pacifica Radio and Pacifica Archives, APR/PRX, and 20 plus networks.

This network of 3 streams is free and does not require a note from a medical provider in order to qualify to listen programming(some services still do). There are about 30 similar services in The United States.

Other content includes programming for intended audiences such as news, book-magazine-newspaper read by in-home volunteers in over 40 languages. This network does include nostalgia-old time radio shows that contain original commercials(pre-political correctness)or language of that time such as Cigarette commercials and other ads of that time period when they were socially acceptable.

This network does NOT edit, or erase content but merely showcases programming of that period to preserve the past for historical value and education and not to shock or offend, there may be some similar content in nostalgic music of that time and period that was different but to preserve the past as “oral history” only.

Mind you it was from the past and we do NOT edit books or reading material such as book classics and are Public Domain. The intention is to educate about its programming value, including current programming.

The music includes Nostalgia going back to 1897(the beginning of recorded music)both in acoustical and electronic such as Cylinder Wax, 78 RPM, and other formats of that time and has been “cleaned up” in the best way in order to enjoy and to comply for DCMA rules and Public Domain recordings.

There are over 5,100 audio nostalgic files and over 11,000 Old Time Radio Shows from 1929 to 1962. At times you may hear Public Domain Classical Music recordings(3,000). Also offered in Oldies formatted music from 1954-79(over 68,000)titles from Top 40/Hot 100 and other charts.

This network does offer over 48,000 songs from AAA(Acoustical Country)to Western Swing and 20 sub-genres going back to the roots of country from 1920 to today(literally). This includes Local, UN-signed, indie music from solo artists and bands, but the goal is to have a large selection of female artists or artists that are not played much by mainstream radio.

No music was bought or there was no exchange of money from the artists, labels, talent agencies, or music promoters and used with permission from the above mentioned, this network provides programming that is inclusive for all in fairness and exposed to the audience programming that is Fair-Diverse and inclusive and by having the goal to serve all in the community.

A majority of programming heard on all 3 streams is not duplicated by any other Low Power, Non-Commercial, AM-FM, or streaming service in our area. Nor to step on or compete with any other non-commercial, community-based, or commercial radio or streaming outlet in our area.

The intention is to offer an alternative or choice in programming.

CGR/NWAIS is a legally recognized service as an Audio/Radio Reading Service that serves an intended target specific audience..Similar services are relevant to this day.

Note: CGR 2 does brand as “Willie The Legend” and has permission to do so AND he does know about the use and the radio service. CGR Radio is known for breaking in or exposing artists that were the first outlet in The NW to play music such as IE; The Ebony Hillbillies, Randy Jack, and many others.

CGR/NWAIS/CCAIS is local and is owned by related titles and names are owned by me Gerald R. Gaule and no one else the names as such are copyrighted. This station is not owned or has been since 2013 by no other or persons mentioned in previous posts do not own or represent CGR/NWAIS and(legal disclaimer)did not give permission to any other person to act on behalf of me and the radio network. CGR does comply with DCMA rules and I am also a public domain agent. The goal of this station has the intention to be “a good neighbor” broadcaster.

I do own a collection of programming such as music and nostalgia and old-time radio shows that are used for all stations and are properly restored for better audio and historic methods that were used many years ago. I do not own or claim ownership of works that is heard on this network. This network has been on since 2013.


Station/Personal(legal)disclaimer, I, this station, CGR, NWAIS, CCAIS, and titles have no further association with J. Cohen, C. Forhan, P. Robinson, KIEV LPFM(and staff)since 2018 and they do not represent me or act upon my behalf(legal)disclaimer.

CGR/NWAIS is NOT a non-profit nor claims to be nor ever was, but is a non-commercial broadcaster but some programming does have some ad sponsor mentions(from programs)that are from other sources.

This network has in-home volunteer readers(non-paid)and this network is the ONLY full-time service in The NW. This network is mainly self-supported but does have free will non-tax deductible donations at times to help with the basic operational bills.

All ads/sponsor mentions are done in a 100 percent trade(barter), but do have a business license to operate in The State of Washington, and are registered(DBA)Northwest Audio Information Service(in case of sponsorship).

CGR can broadcast from a public event, or community-based event at NO charge or is free to all and the station is self-contained and with a two-week notice to do so and the requirements to broadcast live for the event.

PROGRAM Note: ALL streams do work(via Voscast)but their servers may have maintenance, but the streams DO work(but a firewall in a public place)may affect the streams, ALL 3 streams are on 7/24/365. CGR streams are on several apps such as NOBEX, i Blink App for The Blind and Visually Impaired, SCA Radios that are closed-circuit kHz re tuned radios on two Non-Commercial FM stations in The NW(this SCA technology)is still in use by other Audio Services…

The service located in Spokane Washington repeats CGR 1 through the main FM station and their translators and the translators cover parts of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and parts of B.C. Canada and each translator owned by The Spokane Non-Commercial FM and The Tri-Cities Washington have a large reception range.

SCA use is mainly found in nursing and retirement communities for those who may not use or get cable and is given out free for those who request an SCA Radio from the respective outlet. There is NO SCA use in our area. The stations use kHz.

62% of those who are Visually Impaired, Blind, and or Disabled in The Metro Area listen to CGR Radio from the listen Voscast player site, and the main audience from age 54-90 uses CGR for a community connection and do listen to the service that is community connected and relevant for current topics affecting the intended audience, and CGR 3-VetNet is the ONLY service dedicated to the intended audience in The NW.

CGR is not here to compete with ANY other broadcast outlet or LPFM station such as KXRW/KXRW, KIEV LPFM in Camas, or the 6 country formatted broadcaster that can be heard in our area, or any other foreign languaged based station such as Russian/Slavic or Spanish speaking broadcaster nor to encroach or take away a listener.


CGR Radio 1 News-Info-Community Programming


CGR Radio 2-Arts-Entertainment-Community Programming 


CGR 3-VetNet Radio for Blind, Visually Impaired, and or Disabled Veterans.


(you may have to copy the above listen links and paste them in your browser). The Listen links do work but may be blocked by a firewall in public places. I thank Susan Galaviz from KXRW, Wayne Roche for KOUV Radio, and Jenny Brown from The Royal Oaks Country Club, Vancouver Washington for the partnership in order to keep this service on. I also thank The Columbian and the readers. For contact via e-mail ccaisradio_at_gmail dot com.

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First of all, I thank you for reading this.  Many of you know I operate and own The ONLY full-time audio service(online) solely in Western Washington and Oregon for The Blind, Visually Impaired, The Disabled, and Veterans. 

I started this in 2013 after spending 13 years as a volunteer working for the late Jerry Delaunay who was with Golden Hours/Omni Media Networks under The Oregon Commission for the blind, owned by Oregon Public Broadcasting. In the early years such as 1995, I was a volunteer book reader for him but ended up doing various things such as being Program Director, Music Director, Operation Manager, Engineer, Board Member, and Grant Writer( I wrote 3 grants for them ie; Pepsi, Microsoft, and Free Geek) and later as fundraiser manager and then PIO.

I left in 2013 after writing a proposal for them to apply for a Low Power FM station in The Metro area and spending several months writing the proposal and acquiring the funding and equipment in order to be “The first LPFM station on The West Coast” for radio programming for the blind, this was shut down fast without discussion and I literally quit on the spot.

Well at that moment in the car with my belongings, I made a phone call to the outgoing president of The Evergreen Radio Reading service in Seattle Washington and asked her for advice then during the conversation I was informed they were going off the air after 40 years, we had a great conversation.

The ironic thing was that I quickly planned what I was going to do and start the new service, well I had equipment and programming and that night I began CGR online with one stream and it took off.

I knew Jerry was livid and very angry, which to be honest I did not care, I was on my own, and knowing how programming worked then, I wanted to do better, the only regret was that I was at odds with Jerry and find out later he died and not mending things with him.

Here is the bad part, to be honest, I got so wrapped up in my work I started to rely on others without really checking out who a person can really be and blindly trusting and let things be handled by very shady people, but that is my fault to a point.

Well, the funny thing was I started to get complaints from potential sponsors and getting word that the people I hired were doing very shady things from misrepresentation and false claims and so on, well by having better judgment and verifying what was going on, I did fire them, well after that they still made claims and were “representing the station” allegedly. It got so bad that to be honest here(disclaimer) I had to file a restraining order because it got so much out of hand.

To this day there is still some “unwanted garbage” in my opinion from that era of the early days. Now mind you this blog is mainly in my words and to my experience and in my opinion ONLY, but again this is from my experience and what not to do. Now mind you this blog is coming from a transparent point of view(in my opinion)and being honest and with clarity, I am not here to clear my name but to say how I feel. I am thankful the streams(3)are operating and yet being an audio service(like 30 others)in the United States.

The roots of Radio Reading services go back over 50 years and “Golden Hours” was the first in The NW by being started by Graham Archer when he worked at KOIN AM/FM and TV and it was on until a few years ago. Now mind you the services are “NOT Non-Profits” nor ever claimed to be, and yes Audio/Reading services are very niched services and do to this day are very relevant and used and very accessible even though there are podcasts and other streaming services but I found out many older persons do not embrace new technology and that is very true.

Many services are online and rebroadcasted only via TV Digital subchannels(audio only) and some services still use SCA(technology)via Non-Commercial FM services(subcarrier), Non-Commercial and Educational FM stations still use this older technology going back to the days when SCA started for MUZAK but in the ’70s Golden Hours was available on KOIN FM’s SCA then GH moved to KOPB(Then KOAP)FM SCA and later moved to KOPB’s SAP service, now SAP is mainly used for TV for Spanish language broadcasts.

In 2008 KOPB(and its entire network)dropped GH from its service. Still, many audio services are on either a TV station’s Digital Subchannel(for audio), or a public access channel(audio), streaming online, and various apps for easy access for those in nursing homes or facilities. For many years the Main service CGR 1 is carried via KFAE 89.1 in The Tri-Cities area through their 67KHz service(needing a special pre-tuned closed-circuit radio)that you can switch from regular FM radio to SCA)and these radios are very inexpensive.(CGR 1 below link).

CGR Radio 1 News-Info-Community Programming


These SCA radios are wonderful, and also KPBX FM in Spokane Wa also rebroadcasts CGR 1 via their 67KHz SCA service and repeats through their FM translators via 67Khz, their translators cover parts of Washington State, parts of Oregon, Idaho, and BC. SCA Radios are covered either 67KHz or 92KHz. So CGR Radio 1 has extensive coverage via this technology as well as heard on various apps and other broadcasters. 

I want to clarify that CGR/NWAIS is local and I do own and no others own it and never had, I do have a business license(in case of sponsorship), but I do run sponsor mentions for free and always have to thank them for morally supporting CGR/NWAIS Radio, I never had a sponsor that paid but they were always free mentions. To be honest, many sponsors or potential sponsors do not get the concept(honestly)of what an audio service is or the programming it has. I learned this from personal experience.

I love what I do very much, I work on it daily and for many hours a day, I literally do it all, you name it I do it. I do have in-home volunteers who read books and magazines and have for many years. They are non-paid. I have been in radio for years and worked for many stations and many functions from Announcer, Program/Music Director, Operations, Sales, Engineer, Fundraising Manager, and MORE.

I do thank my dear friend Susan Galaviz from KXRW/KXRY for being a big moral supporter and Jenny Brown from The Royal Oaks Country Club as well. Now mind you CGR NWAIS(the names I own as well as CCAIS)is an audio service that does provide VERY target specific programming with News, Educational, Community, Information, Book-Newspaper-Magazine Readings, and Entertainment really intended for The Blind, Visually Impaired, Those who cannot read or hold print, The Disabled and Veterans. And also mention NO other person I was associated with DOES not own or represent CGR/NWAIS/CCAIS and I am not responsible for their actions and never had(Disclaimer). My goal is to do in the best way I can to provide a viable, reliable, and honest service. I thank you.

The Links below do work and the listen links do work(voscast)streaming but they may be blocked due to firewalls, especially in public places, but THEY do work and I do check them many times and daily to make sure, they can be down due to maintenance through Voscast and their servers, but no server is perfect, I do my best to keep it on or investigate why it is not on via directly contacting Voscast, I have been with them since 2013.

Also if I may add, this service will be handed to someone who I trust when I pass on and who has promised not to change things but to ensure CGR/NWAIS will continue when that time comes. Thank you, Columbian for allowing me to write this. Here are the links….you may have to copy and paste them to your browser….. 

Gerald R.Gaule

The owner(sole)-PD-MD-Chief Engineer of CGR Radio Networks/N.W.A.I.S.



CGR Radio 1 News-Info-Community Programming


CGR Radio 2-Arts-Entertainment-Community Programming


CGR 3-VetNet Radio for Blind, Visually Impaired, and or Disabled Veterans.


CGR NWAIS Radio in Vancouver Washington, is a full-time audio information service for The Blind, Visually Impaired, The Disabled, and Veterans by providing News, Information, Community, Educational and Entertainment intended mainly for those above and from 54-90 with target-specific programming as well offering newspaper-book and magazine readings by in-home volunteers.


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While not the norm for most healthy cats, in special circumstances, your vet may recommend the use of an elevated cat bowl for YOUR kitty.


Which felines, you may wonder, fit into this purr-ticular category?

The Benefits of Elevated Cat Bowls

Cats with megaesophagus: A medical condition in which the esophagus doesn’t function properly, inappropriate muscle contractions in your cat’s esophagus affects her ability to move food smoothly and efficiently from her mouth to her stomach. This will cause her to regurgitate whatever undigested food remains shortly after she’s eaten. An elevated cat bowl will allow gravity to move the food she’s eating downward from her mouth and directly into her stomach. Now her esophagus no longer has to move that same food upward towards her stomach as it must when she’s hunched over her food bowl on the floor.

The Benefits of Elevated Cat Bowls

Cats with other eating and/or swallowing problems: If your kitty, for example, is suffering from a neurological disorder, severe dental disease or an acute upper respiratory infection that makes swallowing difficult, the use of an elevated food bowl will, again, overcome gravity, making it easier for her to take food into her mouth and then swallow it properly.


Cats with mobility issues: If your cat – particularly a senior cat — suffers from severe neck, back or joint pain in her front and/or hind legs, for example, bending down to eat from a bowl on the floor may be as cumbersome as it is challenging. Experiment, through a process of trial and error, with bowls of different heights to determine which one is most comfortable and most likely to ease at least some of her extreme discomfort.


Whatever your kitty’s issue, take into consideration both the height of the bowl and the diameter of the bowl (choose either a rounded or a slanted interior). Pay special attention to the material of the bowl. Generally, stainless steel, ceramic or glass bowls are best because they’re easier to sanitize – which is essential. Avoid plastic bowls since they’re prone to developing tiny surface scratches with use and over time, making them next to impossible to thoroughly disinfect.

The Benefits of Elevated Cat Bowls

Elevated bowls are available as individual bowls or as a combined stand that holds both a food bowl and a water bowl. Once again, experimentation is key. While some cats do well using a stand with paired food and water bowls, others, mainly messy eaters, don’t — and shouldn’t use them. Why? A pair of bowls, side by side, may lead to the water in their water bowl being contaminated with food particles from their food bowl far more often.


For safety’s sake, clean your cat’s food and water bowls once a day — or after each meal if you’re feeding her wet canned food – to reduce the risk of bacteria contaminating them and thereby potentially posing a health risk to you both. While they can simply be handwashed in hot, soapy water, most bowls are dishwasher-safe and can, instead, be washed even more thoroughly and safely, in your dishwasher.



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Has your kitty gone from “pleasingly plump” to frighteningly fat? And if so, why?

Food Issues and Felines

Does the term “polyphagia” sound familiar? If not, it’s a medical condition that causes a cat to increase her food intake to the extent that she seems ravenous most of or all of the time. Since polyphagia can be either behavioral or physical in nature, it’s vital to determine which of the two is affecting your particular kitty.


The simplest way is starting at home – to see whether you’re simply over-feeding her.


Since most healthy adult cats require only one or two meals a day, use measuring scoops (follow the serving size recommended on the tin or packaging) to refill her bowl and feed her on a fixed schedule – despite her many initial meows of protest.


Although she may be eating a great deal, she may not be getting enough essential nutrients. If this is the case, change to a higher quality cat food, one that provides her with the vitamins and minerals she needs to stay healthy – and lean.


Use a slow feeding bowl – their bumps make it more difficult for kitty to reach her food, forcing her to eat more slowly. And if your cat is one who eats when she’s bored, a slow feeding bowl will provide her with the added benefit of some much-needed stimulation.

Food Issues and Felines

Turn mealtime into a game by purchasing one of a wide variety of feeding toys that automatically dispenses food as your cat plays with it. Not only does this limit the amount of food she eats but it also encourages her natural prey drive and affords her the chance at some additional exercise.


If your cat is either lonely or stressed (some cats will habitually beg for food as a means of attracting their owners’ attention), alleviate these feelings by devoting at least 15 to 20 minutes a day to actively play, play, playing with her.

Food Issues and Felines

If, on the other hand, the reason behind her overeating is medical, among the various possible culprits are diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, certain medications, and impaired digestion and absorption of nutrients. But to make the proper determination, a visit to your vet is essential.


As with any other suspected condition, the first step will be a thorough physical examination of your cat augmented by extensive blood and urine tests. A blood count enables your vet to evaluate her thyroid levels, examine her blood for the presence of infectious agents, and to see if she’s suffering from anemia or any inflammation in her blood vessels. Abnormally low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may also be found – possibly the result of insulin-producing tumors that interfere with the proper functioning of her pancreas. A complete urinalysis will show if there’s an infection in her urinary tract, an infection of the organs involved in waste elimination or if sugar is present in her urine — commonly found in cats with diabetes.


Should these tests prove inconclusive, however, your vet may suggest x-rays of her thorax and abdomen and, possibly, an endoscopy. This procedure involves inserting a tube through your kitty’s mouth and into the hollow cavity of her stomach to take tissue samples from her stomach and small intestine.


Once the cause of her condition has been diagnosed, your vet will provide you with an at-home treatment plan to follow going forward. Examples: Diabetes mellitus can usually be managed by a combination of insulin and a special diet. Gastrointestinal conditions such as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency may respond to dietary changes and oral medications. Hyperthyroidism can be treated with medication, radioactive iodine therapy, diet, or surgery to remove the thyroid gland, while impaired digestion or absorption caused by gastrointestinal disease may be controlled through medications and dietary changes.


But if kitty’s polyphagia doesn’t improve or worsens, schedule an appointment with your vet to have her re-evaluated.

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Are unsightly and uncomfortable scabs making YOUR kitty itchy and irritable? If so, what’s causing them?

Scabs Here, There, Everywhere

One of the main culprits is miliary dermatitis, where itchy scabs appear on a cat’s neck, back and tail. Most often the result of a fleabite allergy, whereby a cat is allergic to a substance in flea saliva, a single bite can trigger severe itching in her. Although you’re unlikely to find fleas on your affected cat due to her fastidious grooming habits, you will be able to see flea droppings — composed of digested blood.Scabs Here, There, Everywhere


Some cats have food allergy dermatitis and may exhibit hypersensitive reactions to one or more components in their diet. Other possible causes of allergies include atopy, a type of allergic reaction in response to inhaled allergens, and contact dermatitis or contact allergies. Some cats may react adversely to materials in their owners’ bedding, carpets or rugs. Seasonal allergens – from pollen in the air to grasses, weeds and bushes — can also cause intense itching in especially sensitive cats, not to mention chemicals commonly used in households and on gardens and lawns.


Next on the list of possibilities are skin parasites such as ticks, lice and mites, nutritional deficiencies due to an unbalanced or inappropriate diet, and immune-mediated skin diseases. While they themselves don’t cause a cat’s scabs, her frenzied scratching, chewing and licking in an attempt to find relief from the itching will – by eventually breaking the surface of the skin. The longer she claws at the scabs, the greater the chance of secondary bacterial or fungal infections, making treating her all the more complicated. It’s therefore essential to bring YOUR unhappy kitty to the vet as promptly as possible.

Scabs Here, There, Everywhere

The diagnosis of miliary dermatitis is based primarily on your cat’s medical history and her symptoms. Your vet will, in all likelihood, check for signs of fleas and flea dirt, collect some skin scrapings, run allergy tests and take biopsies if necessary. You may even be referred to a veterinary dermatologist.


Ultimately, treating her scabs and itchy skin will depend on identifying the trigger and then, relieving her symptoms. If a flea allergy is to blame, your vet will prescribe a flea medication for at least two to three months. If it’s a mite or lice infestation, medicated baths or sprays should help. If it’s a food allergy, a hypoallergenic food trial (without the offending allergens) may make all the difference. She may also be put on a brief course of corticosteroids or other anti-inflammatory drugs to help ease her itching while any other prescribed medication works to eliminate the root cause of her condition.


Should a secondary infection be involved, your vet will prescribe a round of antibiotics or antifungals for a given period of time. But remember: even if her skin problem begins to resolve itself within a few days of starting any medication, you MUST finish the entire prescription to prevent it from recurring, which can be more serious and more difficult to address. Additional protocols may also include giving her antihistamines and/or cyclosporine and supplementing her diet with essential fatty acids.


Fortunately, most cats diagnosed with miliary dermatitis have an excellent prognosis. But to err on the side of caution and keep it, wherever possible, from becoming an issue in the first place, your cat’s preventive health program should include a monthly flea preventative to ensure she’s adequately protected throughout the year. If your cat spends any time outside, keep her inside instead, thereby reducing both her exposure to various outdoor allergens and keeping her away from any cats potentially infested with fleas, mites and other parasites.

Scabs Here, There, Everywhere


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Whatever their purr-ferred position, cats typically sleep with their paws over their faces.

Why Do Sleeping Cats Cover Their Faces?

While obviously comfortable and undeniably cute, why DO our feline friends cover their faces when they sleep? Here are some of the most plausible explanations for this behavior.


One reason is warmth. When they’re asleep, they lose more of their customary body heat due to the fact that they’re lying still. And since most of that heat comes from their paws, ears and the tips of their noses, covering their faces with their paws or curling themselves into a ball helps keep that essential heat inside while they sleep. They also instinctively curl themselves up more tightly in winter because the cold can be dangerous for them. Should their body temperature drop below a certain level, they can get hypothermia, which, in worst case scenarios, can lead to coma and even death.


A second reason is it blocks out the light. Since cats are crepuscular — most active during the twilight hours – by nature, they spend most of their days sleeping. This means they must sleep when it’s light outside, often in direct sunlight thanks to its soothing warmth, and they use their paws to cover their eyes the way we humans use sleep masks.

Why Do Sleeping Cats Cover Their Faces?

A third reason is it blocks out noise. For most cats, even the slightest noise can wake them from their slumber. An instinct born as a survival mechanism for cats living in the wild, they would snap awake at the slightest noise, and if that noise meant danger, they could swiftly flee. How likely your own cat is to be wakened by a loud noise depends on how deeply she sleeps and how well her ears are covered.


A fourth reason is a sense of security. While cats, primarily outdoors and feral cats, are predators, hunting birds, mice and other small rodents, cats in the wild are the prey of many larger animals. Most vulnerable when asleep, their faces are vulnerable too, and should their faces be attacked, these cats’ chances of survival would be slim. And although your inside cat isn’t in danger of being attacked by a predator when she’s asleep, this behavior is, once again, instinctual.Why Do Sleeping Cats Cover Their Faces?

A fifth reason is exhaustion. Cats don’t only use their paws to cover their faces when they sleep, they also use their paws to self-groom. Obsessively devoting nearly one third of the day to grooming themselves – a tiring feat in and of itself – if they fall asleep in the middle of washing their faces, their paws will land directly over their eyes. The very act of moving their paws down in order to sleep may, quite simply, be too much of an effort for them.


Last, but not least, your cat may be covering her face while she’s sleeping as a hint to the rest of her loving household that she needs her space and purr-fers to be left alone. Think of it as an unwritten “Do Not Disturb” sign and respect your favorite feline’s wishes. Rest assured: she’ll amply reward your thoughtfulness when she wakes up.

114085resolution-in-support-of-3rd-4th-bridges-not-far-enough-for-lentz https://blogs.columbian.com/blog/politics/all-politics-is-local/resolution-in-support-of-3rd-4th-bridges-not-far-enough-for-lentz/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/10/0804_met_Interstate_5_Bridge-600x381.jpg When it comes to planning and building for third and fourth bridges across the Columbia River into Oregon, the Clark County Council is passing the buck. At least that’s what Councilor Temple Lentz told the council during its meeting Tuesday. Lentz’s comments came shortly before the council passed a resolution in support of the additional travel corridors. “I still feel this resolution doesn’t deliver. I’d hoped that the loudest proponents on this council would recognize that leadership is more than simply saying that somebody else ought to go do something,” Lentz said. Lentz said, unfortunately, that’s exactly what the resolution does, ask others to do the hard work. “It fails to demonstrate even a rudimentary understanding of land use and the process and collaboration that would be required to take something like this on,” Lentz said during the meeting. During prior reviews of the resolution, Lentz had asked for the language to be changed to show the council was stepping up as a leader in the process. The resolution says the county “urges all parties to simultaneously begin work to expeditiously construct a third bridge crossing the Columbia River …. and to begin planning for a fourth bridge corridor.” It also asks for planning to begin, with all jurisdictions joining the county in integrating the additional bridges in comprehensive plans and transportation planning maps. According to the council, replacing the Interstate Bridge won’t be enough to solve the county’s traffic problems and additional bridges will be needed. A 2008 study by the Regional Transportation Council found the county’s growing population would outpace infrastructure improvements and recommended additional bridges be built connecting west Vancouver to the St. Johns area in Oregon and in east Vancouver connecting to Gresham and Troutdale. Because planning, design, permitting and construction work for additional bridges could take years, the council said it wanted to get a resolution on the books to help kick start the effort. Councilor Karen Bowerman, who proposed the resolution initially, said the sites identified in the study may not be the best locations now. “Where that will be is unknown at this time. It is to be studied beyond what was done in 2008 because things have changed since then,” Bowerman said. Bowerman said the county is hoping for a smooth planning process that involves neighboring cities and jurisdictions. 114085county-council-already-eyeing-third-fourth-bridges https://blogs.columbian.com/blog/politics/all-politics-is-local/county-council-already-eyeing-third-fourth-bridges/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/10/0804_met_Interstate_5_Bridge-600x381.jpg With efforts to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge barely off the ground, the Clark County Council is already looking ahead to additional bridges across the mighty Columbia River. At its Nov. 2 meeting, the council is likely to pass a resolution in support of a third and a fourth bridge crossing between Clark County and Oregon. The council said the resolution is needed to prompt project partners, such as the Oregon Department of Transportation and Washington State Department of Transportation, to “make meaningful steps” toward planning for construction. Although a primary goal in replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge is to reduce traffic congestion between Clark County and the Portland metro area, the bridge by itself likely won’t be enough, the council said. According to a 2008 Regional Transportation Council “Visioning Study,” added capacity from additional bridge corridors will be needed to offset the county’s growing population. The study placed the highest demand areas between west Vancouver and the St. Johns neighborhood in Portland, and between the east Vancouver/Camas area and the Gresham/Troutdale communities in Oregon. But those may not be the right spots for additional bridges now. “(The study) needs to be updated at this point in time. There were maps made of the additional corridors that would be logical back then,” Councilor Karen Bowerman said during council time on Oct. 27. “What they are to be now might be different,” especially with new roads, construction and other changes built in Clark County since the study was done. Councilor Temple Lentz also said the study didn’t take changes to the county’s Growth Management Plan into account either. “The findings of that 2008 study were never incorporated into any of the jurisdictions,” Lentz added. Despite the needed changes, the council is moving ahead with the resolution to get the bridge ball rolling. “We’re not engineers, and we don’t know what Oregon is going to agree to, ultimately. But as a political body we should speak up,” Councilor Gary Medvigy said. Medvigy noted none of the planning work should exclude other options, such as tunnels or ferries, in other corridors. He also said active planning for additional travel corridors by both states, as well as the state and federal government would “satisfy a great portion of the public concerned about congestion today.” The resolution asks all jurisdictions in the county to “integrate the additional bridge corridors into all comprehensive plans and relevant Clark County long-term transportation planning maps in the metropolitan area, including a tie-in with the Clark County Growth Management Act Comprehensive Plan update.” For more information on the resolution, go to https://clark.wa.gov/councilors/clark-county-council-meetings. — Shari Phiel   119490nothing-better-than-spring-chinook https://blogs.columbian.com/small-plates/2020/05/28/nothing-better-than-spring-chinook/ /wp-content/uploads/2020/05/IMG_0233-917x1024-412x460.jpg

A couple of weeks ago, one of my sons and I made a quick trip to Eugene (exhibiting proper social distancing, using masks and doing hand sanitizing) to pick up some bees. We also ordered chinook salmon from Newman’s. (I miss them so much in Portland; best fish monger ever.)

Nothing better than spring chinookLast night, David and I used Nancie McDermott’s Salmon Steaks in Caramel Fish Sauce from her “Quick & Easy Vietnamese” cookbook, one of my favorites and available on Amazon. I made the sauce; David did the cooking in a cast-iron pan. He removed the skin and cut the salmon into chunks so he could control the cooking, according to the size. Remember, the salmon continues to cook after it is removed from the heat.

Heavenly, just heavenly. It was moist, sweet, salty and fiery all at the same time. We served it with spring greens and a toasted sesame and ginger salad dressing. We also had roasted asparagus and Pinot Gris from Jerry Sass’ winery. Here’s the recipe:
Salmon in Caramel Fish Sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped shallots or onions
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
1/4 cup fish sauce (Note from Janet: Use Red Boat. It is 100 percent pure with only two ingredients: black anchovies and sea salt.)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1-1/2 pounds salmon steaks or other meaty fish, about 1 inch thick
3 green onions, trimmed, white part chopped and green part cut into 2-inch lengths
In a small, deep skillet or saucepan, combine the oil, shallots and garlic. Warm over medium-high heat until the garlic sizzles. Add the fish sauce, sugars, water and pepper and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring now and then, until the sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens a bit, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the salmon steaks and let the sauce return to a gentle boil. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, Carefully, turn the steaks over, add the green onions and cook for 5 minutes more. Transfer the fish steaks to a shallow serving bowl, sauce and all. Serve hot or warm.
— From Nancie McDermott’s “Simply Vietnamese Cooking: 135 Delicious Recipes”

Nothing better than spring chinook

Janet Cleaveland

What happens when a retired journalist spends a lot more time in the kitchen than in past years? She tries new dishes and jumps at the chance to write a blog about food, family and good times. My kids are grown now, but I'll be looking back at how they learned to cook, what recipes my husband (the Intrepid One) and I are experimenting with, and how food and conversation make for happy times in the kitchen. I worked for The Columbian for 15 years as a copy editor and another 10 elsewhere, though I didn't start out as a journalist. I thought I wanted to teach English literature. My husband grew up in Clark County, and I've lived here since 1983. My kids have grown and left home. Like my husband of 50 years, our adopted chocolate Lab would never pass up a chance for a tasty meal.

118780apologies-to-nonna https://blogs.columbian.com/small-plates/2020/04/16/apologies-to-nonna/ /wp-content/uploads/2020/04/514832CF-F862-49D5-9ACF-4F9B70197898_1_201_a-1024x768-600x450.jpeg

Here is wedding soup, with apologies to all my Italian friends who learned to cook alongside their nonnas. I had to make substitutions because I didn’t want to run to the store, and I didn’t have the soup bones to make the rich, homemade broth. I had ground pork, but not ground chicken for the meatballs. And here’s another confession: I had about a cup of Cento porcini sauce in the fridge. I threw that in because I didn’t have enough for a meal and I didn’t want it to go to waste. That paragraph had a lot of “didn’t” in it. Geez.

Apologies to nonnaSee what I mean when I ask for apologies for messing with what your nonna would have made?
And here’s a side note: When I was about to become a granny, I told my kids I didn’t want to be called “grandma” or “granny.” Ruben said, “No way. You’re Grandma Boats.” That’s what he called his paternal grandmother. I decided that “Nonna Boats” had a nice ring to it and I liked it just fine.

The broth:
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, nicely minced
Olive oil
1 small leek, chopped
3 carrots, chopped into rounds
6 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of porcini sauce or 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
½ cup chopped Italian parsley
10 cups loosely packed spinach
1 cup orzo

Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil. Add the leek and carrots. Stir in the chicken broth and sauce or tomato paste. Season with the salt and pepper. Simmer for an hour or two. We’ll deal with the spinach and orzo after you’ve made the meatballs.

The meatballs:
¾ pound ground pork
¾ cup fine dried bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley
1 large egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan for serving

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the meatballs. Mix well with your hands, and then roll into 1-inch meatballs. Add them to the boiling water and simmer for about 5 minutes or until they are pretty much done. Transfer them from the water to the soup mixture, where they will continue cooking.
Add the spinach and orzo. Cook about 10 more minutes or until the orzo is done to your liking.
Serve in soup bowls with a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Apologies to nonna

Janet Cleaveland

What happens when a retired journalist spends a lot more time in the kitchen than in past years? She tries new dishes and jumps at the chance to write a blog about food, family and good times. My kids are grown now, but I'll be looking back at how they learned to cook, what recipes my husband (the Intrepid One) and I are experimenting with, and how food and conversation make for happy times in the kitchen. I worked for The Columbian for 15 years as a copy editor and another 10 elsewhere, though I didn't start out as a journalist. I thought I wanted to teach English literature. My husband grew up in Clark County, and I've lived here since 1983. My kids have grown and left home. Like my husband of 50 years, our adopted chocolate Lab would never pass up a chance for a tasty meal.

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Hunkered down and making poppy-seed cake

I dredged up the poppy-seed cake recipe from memory.

Hi there!

It has been awhile, and I can’t say that I’m back at blogging for Small Plates, but today I made a cake that has been in the family files since 1972. It was a recipe that my mother-in-law used after her sister sent it to her from Virginia.

Hunkered down and making poppy-seed cakeHunkering down to avoid COVID-19 is making me think of food and days gone by. I knew I had everything on hand. I had made this poppy-seed cake so many times in the 1970s that it was etched in my memory.

That’s a good thing: I looked for my handwritten recipe, and when I couldn’t find it, I gave it a try from memory. No. 2 son said the result was just as he remembered it. I used whipping cream as the topping, maybe better than a cream cheese frosting, and I happened to have a few raspberries in the fridge.

All this is making me want a cup of coffee. Stay safe and healthy, Small Plates readers.

Aunt Claire’s poppy-seed cake

2 sticks of softened butter
1-1/2 cups of sugar
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. Throw in the vanilla.

Sift together the baking powder, salt and flour. Alternate the flour and the sour cream, beating at low speed.

Pour into a 13- x 18-inch pan and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. You can use a bundt pan or two 8-inch round cake pans, but adjust the cooking time accordingly.


Hunkered down and making poppy-seed cake

Janet Cleaveland

What happens when a retired journalist spends a lot more time in the kitchen than in past years? She tries new dishes and jumps at the chance to write a blog about food, family and good times. My kids are grown now, but I'll be looking back at how they learned to cook, what recipes my husband (the Intrepid One) and I are experimenting with, and how food and conversation make for happy times in the kitchen. I worked for The Columbian for 15 years as a copy editor and another 10 elsewhere, though I didn't start out as a journalist. I thought I wanted to teach English literature. My husband grew up in Clark County, and I've lived here since 1983. My kids have grown and left home. Like my husband of 49 years, our adopted chocolate Lab would never pass up a chance for a tasty meal.

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Frassati Suppers up and running again

St. Joseph Catholic Church parishioners Robyn Hansen (left) and Jan get the plates ready for Frassati guests at the Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater in downtown Vancouver.

After an extensive kitchen remodel in the Lower Hall of the Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater, we are serving Frassati Suppers again.

Frassati Suppers up and running againWhat’s Frassati? A welcoming place in Vancouver where volunteer greeters, chefs, waiters and others serve the poor and homeless in the spirit of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. The supper is part of the downtown parish’s Pier Giorgio Agape Ministry, an outreach effort named in honor of the 24-year-old Italian man who died in 1925 from polio he likely contracted while visiting the sick. He was beatified in 1990.

My job is to coordinate the volunteers and help in the kitchen. The once-a-week effort averages 25 workers a week. I never planned on volunteering; it just happened as I learned more about the ministry and met dedicated people committed to helping the poor in our community.

And we do make a difference: In 2018, we served 8,470 meals (includes seconds) to the 6,209 people who signed in. It took 3,354 volunteer hours to make this happen.

The work alone has been a huge blessing for me. But I have also made new friends. For example, Greg Repman brings in a crew the third Thursday of the month from Our Lady of Lourdes in northwest Vancouver, and Robyn Hansen, a parishioner at St. Joseph Catholic Church, serves meals the second Thursday of each month. Robyn recently made sloppy joes, coleslaw and potato tots for dinner. The meal was a big hit for our guests.

So I was thinking that sloppy joes might make a quick and easy meal as families begin thinking about back to school and the rush of homework and activities. Robyn’s recipe comes from her sister.

Frassati Suppers up and running again

Frassati guests wanted seconds and in some cases thirds of Robyn’s sloppy joes, coleslaw and tots.

Sloppy joes (serves four to six, depending on size of buns)

1 pound of hamburger
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup of ketchup
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped green pepper (optional)
Brown hamburger and drain fat.  Add onions (and green pepper), spices and wet ingredients and simmer covered on medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve on toasted buns.
Frassati Suppers up and running again

Janet Cleaveland

What happens when a retired journalist spends a lot more time in the kitchen than in past years? She tries new dishes and jumps at the chance to write a blog about food, family and good times. My kids are grown now, but I'll be looking back at how they learned to cook, what recipes my husband (the Intrepid One) and I are experimenting with, and how food and conversation make for happy times in the kitchen. I worked for The Columbian for 15 years as a copy editor and another 10 elsewhere, though I didn't start out as a journalist. I thought I wanted to teach English literature. My husband grew up in Clark County, and I've lived here since 1983. My kids have grown and left home. Like my husband of 49 years, our adopted chocolate Lab would never pass up a chance for a tasty meal.

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Thai sweet and sour pork

My friend Linda Meade, a member of Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Vancouver and a volunteer for the Frassati suppers at the Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater where we feed the poor and homeless, took me to lunch the other day at Thai Orchid.

Thai sweet and sour porkWe ordered the Thai sweet and sour pork entree. It was so good that I vowed to replicate it at home. The result? It was delicious at the restaurant but even more tasty at home. I went to a couple of recipes for guidance, and then I combined and improvised.

No. 2 son dropped by as he often does on a Saturday night. It passed the John test. The Intrepid One praised the flavors. In fact, we all pronounced it “company worthy,” a term we use when something is good enough to serve to guests. We had leftovers, so I’m anticipating that the flavors will meld tonight and we will have a delicious lunch tomorrow.

Here is my improvised recipe:

Thai sweet and sour pork

Half a pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons oil

1/2 large onion, cut into large chunks

1 bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips

1-1/2 cups fresh pineapple

1 tomato, chopped into chunks that are about the size of cherry tomatoes

2 green onions, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup cilantro

Steamed rice for serving

For the sauce:

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup pineapple juice (I was a little short, so I threw in a couple of tablespoons of lemonade)

2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water

Thai sweet and sour porkTo put this together:

Marinate the pork slices in the soy sauce, garlic and pepper at the top of the recipe for at least 30 minutes.

Make the sauce by bringing all the ingredients, except the cornstarch, to a boil. After the sugar has dissolved, add the cornstarch and let the mixture thicken. Set it aside.

Cook the pork in hot oil until tender and not overdone. Get a clean frying pan. Heat more vegetable oil and then stir-fry the vegetables. Pour in the sauce and cooked pork. Add the pineapple, cucumber and heat through, Garnish with green onions and cilantro. Serve with steamed rice.






Thai sweet and sour pork

Janet Cleaveland

What happens when a retired journalist spends a lot more time in the kitchen than in past years? She tries new dishes and jumps at the chance to write a blog about food, family and good times. My kids are grown now, but I'll be looking back at how they learned to cook, what recipes my husband (the Intrepid One) and I are experimenting with, and how food and conversation make for happy times in the kitchen. I worked for The Columbian for 15 years as a copy editor and another 10 elsewhere, though I didn't start out as a journalist. I thought I wanted to teach English literature. My husband grew up in Clark County, and I've lived here since 1983. My kids have grown and left home. Like my husband of 49 years, our adopted chocolate Lab would never pass up a chance for a tasty meal.

109219gardening-and-multitasking https://blogs.columbian.com/gardening-with-allen/2019/05/19/gardening-and-multitasking/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/05/default-avatar.png

Gardening is a fun, creative and healthy hobby. There’s nothing like unplugging from your daily routine and getting down and dirty doing concrete, tangible work. A key part of gardening is how relaxing it is.

In today’s fast-paced advancements in the technological world, you can also multitask while gardening, adding an entirely new dimension to this entertaining pastime. Take a look at some fun suggestions for multitasking while gardening.


Who doesn’t love music? Why not combine two of your passions into a single activity. Listening to music while gardening is one of the most relaxing things you can do.

Studies have shown that music can have a positive effect on workflow and productivity. But even if your aim isn’t to work more efficiently, for most people music is a preferable background to random noise.

This is a great way to revisit old hits or catch up with the newest releases. It’s an approach which condenses two fun activities into one. This is one of the rare ways that you can make gardening even more enjoyable. So kick back, make a playlist and go make the most of your time in the sun.


Audiobooks are a big hit. They provide an even more convenient way to enjoy literature than e-books. The not-so-good fact is that most of us can’t find enough time to read. Downloading the audiobook of your favorite book or that new novel that you can’t find the time to start reading is a great way to enjoy literature.

It doesn’t have to stop there – you can also find plenty of audiobooks concerning gardening. These can help improve your skills or inspire you with new ideas for your little green corner. Educating yourself on gardening has never been easier.


Podcasts are hugely popular at the moment. They have almost completely replaced the traditional format of a radio show. If you’re a fan, try listening to one while gardening.

Podcasts and videos offer a wide array of diverse content to enjoy. Listening to something you enjoy while gardening will provide you with a new, unique sense of leisure.

If you’re so inclined, there are many podcasts and YouTube channels which focus on gardening. Check them out for new ideas on how to improve your garden, what to grow and how to grow it.

Where do I begin?

Multitasking and gardening go hand in hand naturally. It’s very easy to start. First things first, purchase a good quality wireless headphone from headsetplus.com. This allows you to enjoy online content while tending to your garden.

A good pair of sound canceling headphones will also help you focus on the work at hand. Not being distracted by ambient noises will help you stay in the zone and make the most of your free time. You will naturally gravitate to what you usually enjoy, but take a look at a couple of suggestions and ideas down below.


It may seem counterproductive, but doing some other important work while tending to your garden at the same time can be a good use of your time. It’s important not to go overboard, but if you can delegate, plan or instruct others, doing a bit of work while simultaneously gardening can help reduce stress.

If your line of works allows, taking care of small tasks, delegating it to your subordinates can help reduce the overall amount of work. And when you do have to go to work, you’ll have an easier time there. This is a delicate balance, and obviously isn’t applicable to all lines of work – but if it is for yours, you should at least consider the possibility.

Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture.

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Crab sandwich and warm spinach salad


I didn’t hesitate when No. 2 son (John) dropped by the other night and offered to make dinner: a Dungeness crab sandwich alongside a spinach salad. I was thrilled to have a night off from cooking and made a quick deal. He would do the cooking; I would do the cleanup. Afterward, we talked about getting the recipes on this Small Plates blog. But he was worried about being exact.

Crab sandwich and warm spinach salad“I never measure out anything,” he said. So I prodded him into approximate amounts. With that in mind, I suggest that you make adjustments as you go and build the sandwich according to what you think is the correct, spreadable consistency.

Crab and cheese sandwich

1/2 pound of crab
1-1/2 teaspoons chopped dill
1/3 cup cream cheese
2 tablespoons mayo
pinches of black pepper
crusty bread cut 1-inch thick
cheddar or jack cheese to cover

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes until brown and bubbly.

Warm bacon dressing for spinach salad

1/2 pound spinach
5 strips bacon
2 tablespoons roughly chopped basil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
pinch of black pepper
a little salt
a squeeze of lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sugar

Parmesan cheese

Fry the bacon in a pan. Pull out the strips of bacon, reserving the grease. Wick out half the fat. Chop the bacon. Mix the rest of the ingredients into the bacon fat. Let it boil, then toss over the spinach until the spinach appears reduced by half. Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese.

Serve warm.

Janet Cleaveland

What happens when a retired journalist spends a lot more time in the kitchen than in past years? She tries new dishes and jumps at the chance to write a blog about food, family and good times. My kids are grown now, but I'll be looking back at how they learned to cook, what recipes my husband (the Intrepid One) and I are experimenting with, and how food and conversation make for happy times in the kitchen. I worked for The Columbian for 15 years as a copy editor and another 10 elsewhere, though I didn't start out as a journalist. I thought I wanted to teach English literature. My husband grew up in Clark County, and I've lived here since 1983. My kids have grown and left home. Like my husband of 49 years, our adopted chocolate Lab would never pass up a chance for a tasty meal.

Crab sandwich and warm spinach salad
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Hi there, Small Plates readers:

Last weekend, I had a fabulous visit with one of my best friends from high school and her husband. I flew to San José, Calif., to stay at their house. (It was on a Boeing 737, but not the MAX.)

We went to the Little Italy section of San José and dined at Paesano Saturday evening. I ordered Pappardelle Alexandra, a broad ribbon pasta with pancetta and crab in a tomato vodka cream sauce. It was heavenly.

Food evokes joy of friendshipBack home, I kept raving to the Intrepid One about what a wonderful weekend I had had with my friends.. He had stayed home with our aging Labrador, Abby, who suffers from laryngeal paralysis, a horrible condition common to older Labs that affects their breathing. In late January, she also had a tumor removed from her paw pad. It was determined to be an aggressive malignant melanoma. At this point, we are trying to keep her as comfortable as possible.

Anyway I tried to replicate the Paesano  recipe, though I admit that I used Cento’s creamy vodka sauce, available at Sheridan’s in Southeast Portland. I used Neuske’s bacon, medium sliced, from Portland’s City Market instead of the pancetta. (And next time I’ll make the sauce from scratch.) Anyway, No. 2 son stopped by, and we all agreed the recipe was a keeper and company worthy,

Sorry, St. Patrick, we’re having Italian again tomorrow night because we have plenty of leftovers.

Thanks, Susan, for 56 years of friendship. And thanks, David, for taking care of our beloved pooch, Abby.

Crab and bacon pappardelle

4 strips of high quality bacon, cut into 1-inch strips

1 jar of Cento creamy vodka sauce

Extra whipping cream

1/4 cup basil, finely chopped

salt, pepper

meat from one small crab

Pappardelle pasta (I bought it at Pastaworks in City Market in Northwest Portland)


Fry the bacon chunks. Dab the excess grease with a paper towel. Pour in the creamy vodka sauce and add salt, pepper and extra cream to taste.

Add the basil and meat from the crab. Gently toss.

Cook the pasta according to directions. With the silky strands of pappardelle, it took about seven minutes. Pass the Parmigiano-Reggiano.



Janet Cleaveland

What happens when a retired journalist spends a lot more time in the kitchen than in past years? She tries new dishes and jumps at the chance to write a blog about food, family and good times. My kids are grown now, but I'll be looking back at how they learned to cook, what recipes my husband (the Intrepid One) and I are experimenting with, and how food and conversation make for happy times in the kitchen. I worked for The Columbian for 15 years as a copy editor and another 10 elsewhere, though I didn't start out as a journalist. I thought I wanted to teach English literature. My husband grew up in Clark County, and I've lived here since 1983. My kids have grown and left home. Like my husband of 49 years, our adopted chocolate Lab would never pass up a chance for a tasty meal.

Food evokes joy of friendship
97237more-cooking-with-hana http://blogs.columbian.com/small-plates/2019/01/27/more-cooking-with-hana/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/01/IMG_1020-768x1024-345x460.jpeg

More cooking with HanaAnother month and another chance to cook with Hana Adamko, my fellow parishioner at the Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater in downtown Vancouver.

More cooking with HanaThis time we made a Polish kielbasa-cabbage stew. Again, our guests at the Frassati Supper sang Hana’s praises and sent compliments to the chef. Frassati is a once-a-week event in which volunteers feed the poor and homeless. We served the stew, a peach half and warmed rolls with buter. Desserts are from Simply Sweets in downtown Vancouver, New Seasons and the Clark County Food Bank. (Thank you for your generosity.)

It takes an average of 25 volunteers to put on each supper. Last week, about 130 people signed in and we served 160 plates. (The difference represents seconds, even thirds.) The numbers are down from a couple of years ago. We hope, of course, that that is because some of our former guests have found work and are able to break out of poverty.

More cooking with HanaSo here’s the recipe, as Hana makes it. This version makes about eight servings, but of course we multiply it by 20 so we can serve 130 people or so. I have gotten used to thinking big.

In a large saucepan or nonstick skillet, brown sausage over medium heat. Add the potatoes, cabbage, onion, 1 cup water, sugar, caraway and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-18 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.
Add beans and vinegar; cover and simmer 5-10 minutes longer. Combine flour and remaining water until smooth; stir into stew. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Thank you to all the Frassati volunteers who work each Thursday serving the poor and homeless.








Janet Cleaveland

What happens when a retired journalist spends a lot more time in the kitchen than in past years? She tries new dishes and jumps at the chance to write a blog about food, family and good times. My kids are grown now, but I'll be looking back at how they learned to cook, what recipes my husband (the Intrepid One) and I are experimenting with, and how food and conversation make for happy times in the kitchen. I worked for The Columbian for 15 years as a copy editor and another 10 elsewhere, though I didn't start out as a journalist. I thought I wanted to teach English literature. My husband grew up in Clark County, and I've lived here since 1983. My kids have grown and left home. Like my husband of 49 years, our adopted chocolate Lab would never pass up a chance for a tasty meal.

More cooking with Hana
96505layered-sauerkraut-catches-me-by-surprise http://blogs.columbian.com/small-plates/2018/12/31/layered-sauerkraut-catches-me-by-surprise/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/12/fullsizeoutput_3061-1024x768-600x450.jpeg

Layered sauerkraut catches me by surpriseI coordinate volunteers for the Frassati Supper, part of an outreach program for the poor and homeless at Vancouver’s downtown Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater.

Aboutt a year ago, I was short a head cook for the fourth Thursday of the month. Out of the blue, fellow parishioner Hana Adamko offered her services. Of course, I jumped.

“I only cook Old World meals,” she announced. I remember asking myself what that might mean.

Layered sauerkraut catches me by surpriseBoy, was I in for an adventure, starting with chicken paprikash with homemade dumplings and most recently with a layered sauerkraut dish. I don’t like sauerkraut most of the time, but I found myself making the dish at home right after Hana made it for the 150 people we served Dec. 27. Our guests praised it, too. Plates came back clean. My husband loved it. I shared it with a friend who grew up in Bavaria. (The recipe calls for pork, bacon and sausage along with sauerkraut, onions and sour cream. His wife, a vegetarian, was out of town, and this was perfect timing.)

The Frassati Supper is part of the proto-cathedral’s Pier Giorgio Agape Ministry, an effort named in honor of the 24-year-old Italian man who died in 1925 from polio he likely contracted while visiting the sick. He was beatified in 1990. Our parish program began in December 2012. Besides the weekly supper, it also includes a closet for clothing distribution and a cupboard for food giveaways.

Washington mandates Point in Time, a count of the homeless each January. The tally for 2018 in Clark County was 795; for the state, 22,304.

Now if you think you can’t make a difference in the plight of the homeless, consider these numbers: In 2018, a group of volunteers working in our tiny church kitchen served 8,470 meals to the 6,209 people who signed in. (The difference between the numbers is from seconds and thirds some people requested.) It took the help of volunteers who put in 3,354 hours. (We average 27 volunteers — cooks, servers, dishwashers and greeters — per Thursday.) We also get donations from the Clark County Food Bank and Simply Sweets downtown. (Thank you.)

 Layered sauerkraut catches me by surpriseHana’s layered sauerkraut 

If you find the sauerkraut too sour, wash it. Squeeze all the liquid out of it. 

Rinse the rice and cook it in salty water

In a pan fry the sausages in a little oil. Set aside.

In another skillet fry the chopped bacon; when the bacon releases enough fat, add finely chopped onion and garlic, and sauté until translucent. Add ground pork and fry until it turns white. Pour in a little water, sprinkle with paprika and summer savory, salt (1-1/2 tsp.) and pepper, cover and cook until tender. 

Grease a medium-sized casserole. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line the dish with one-third of the sauerkraut. Spread half of the rice, then half of the meat over the sauerkraut. Place half of the sausages on top of the meat and pour over half of the lard released by sausages. Now comes the half of the remaining sauerkraut, spread one-third of the sour cream over it evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining rice and meat, put the sausage slices and pour over the rest of the lard. Cover with the remaining sauerkraut and spread sour cream on top.

Place in the oven and cook for 45-50 minutes. Take out from the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.


Janet Cleaveland

What happens when a retired journalist spends a lot more time in the kitchen than in past years? She tries new dishes and jumps at the chance to write a blog about food, family and good times. My kids are grown now, but I'll be looking back at how they learned to cook, what recipes my husband (the Intrepid One) and I are experimenting with, and how food and conversation make for happy times in the kitchen. I worked for The Columbian for 15 years as a copy editor and another 10 elsewhere, though I didn't start out as a journalist. I thought I wanted to teach English literature. My husband grew up in Clark County, and I've lived here since 1983. My kids have grown and left home. Like my husband of 49 years, our adopted chocolate Lab would never pass up a chance for a tasty meal.

Layered sauerkraut catches me by surprise
101231roasted-and-stuffed-portobello-mushrooms-on-the-menu-2 http://blogs.columbian.com/small-plates/2018/10/05/lunch-plans-get-pinch-inspiration/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/fullsizeoutput_2df4-1024x680-600x398.jpeg
Roasted and stuffed portobello mushrooms on the menu

Stuffed portobello mushrooms take center stage for a light supper or luncheon with friends.

I’m giving away the menu, Mary Lou Oberson and Betty Schmidlin.

Roasted and stuffed portobello mushrooms on the menuFor the past couple of years, Mary Lou, Betty and I have renewed our friendship from our days at Portland State. During our working years, we went for long stretches with little communication, except for those Christmas cards. Now we meet for lunch about every six weeks or so. We are far-flung, if you consider Vernonia part of the greater Portland-Vancouver metro area: Mary Lou lives near Cedar Hills and Betty in Vernonia. I’ve been in Vancouver since 1983.

But the friendship has endured for decades. How many? I’m not giving up that number.

I’m hosting the next luncheon. I didn’t have a clue about what to serve until today when I stuffed and baked portobello mushrooms in a desperate move to keep from cooking a big meal. I was looking for something easy but tasty after a week of company. (Chuck Cleaveland and Buff Levine, I could have made this for the cocktail hour.)

See you soon, Betty and Mary Lou.

Stuffed portobello mushrooms (for two)

2 portobello mushrooms, washed and dried, stems removed and chopped for sautéing

6 slices of Genoa salami. cut into 1/4-inch strips

3 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup dried bread crumbs

salt and pepper to taste


1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pour olive oil onto a rimmed cookie sheet.

Wash and dry the portobellos. Chop the stems and set aside. Place the mushroom caps top down on  the cookie sheet. Slather with the olive oil.

Bake for 10 minutes. Turn them over and bake another 5 minutes. Take them out and let them rest. Turn them back over.

Melt the butter and sauté the chopped mushroom stems, red onion, bits of salami, basil, bread crumbs and garlic. Spoon the mixture atop the mushrooms. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes.




Janet Cleaveland

What happens when a retired journalist spends a lot more time in the kitchen than in past years? She tries new dishes and jumps at the chance to write a blog about food, family and good times. My kids are grown now, but I'll be looking back at how they learned to cook, what recipes my husband (the Intrepid One) and I are experimenting with, and how food and conversation make for happy times in the kitchen. I worked for The Columbian for 15 years as a copy editor and another 10 elsewhere, though I didn't start out as a journalist. I thought I wanted to teach English literature. My husband grew up in Clark County, and I've lived here since 1983. My kids have grown and left home. Like my husband of 49 years, our adopted chocolate Lab would never pass up a chance for a tasty meal.

Roasted and stuffed portobello mushrooms on the menu
93653the-diary-of-a-young-girl-censorship-over-opportunity http://blogs.columbian.com/confessions-of-an-educator/the-diary-of-a-young-girl-censorship-over-opportunity/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/09/ChrisMargolin_037_Anne-Frank-had-a-vagina_IMAGE-640x360-600x337.jpg

The Diary of a Young Girl: Censorship over OpportunityAnne Frank had a vagina—as does just about every other female on planet earth. I know, shocking, isn’t it? A young girl, who stays in hiding and has no access to the outside world, has to make discoveries about herself, and one of them just happens to be that her major sexual organ is an odd one.

In the Definitive Version of Anne Frank’s diary, the publishing company actually decides to give us the entire diary, and not simply the excerpts we get to read in the heavily abridged version of the text. Unfortunately, a few years ago, a mother in Detroit deemed this version as too “pornographic” for her daughter to read.

Her daughter, a seventh grader in a suburban school district, had to read about such disgraceful, sickening, horrifying events like the Holocaust, you know, the murdering of countless people … oh, and about a vagina. The mother felt as if it should have been her job to teach her daughter about such physical traits. She’s right. She should have taught her daughter about her body and it probably should have been done before her daughter was hitting puberty. I guess she missed the boat on that one, and since she couldn’t do it, her daughter had to learn about it from one of the most important and most read pieces of literature in any country.

Here is the excerpt from The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank:

“Until I was eleven or twelve, I didn’t realize there was a second set of labia on the inside, since you couldn’t see them. What’s even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris…. When you’re standing up, all you see from the front is hair. Between your legs there are two soft, cushiony things, also covered with hair, which press together when you’re standing, so you can’t see what’s inside. They separate when you sit down and they’re very red and quite fleshy on the inside. In the upper part, between the outer labia, there’s a fold of skin that, on second thought, looks like a kind of blister. That’s the clitoris….

 There are little folds of skin all over the place, you can hardly find it. The little hole underneath is so terribly small that I simply can’t imagine how a man can get in there, let alone how a whole baby can get out!”

During banned books week in September, my high school students were always shocked at how many books have been “banned” over time and the silly reasons why. Much like in the time of the great philosophers such as Plato and Socrates and Descartes and Aristotle, people are shunned from asking questions and wondering about society, and themselves.

My parents introduced me to books and movies with difficult subject matter when I was very young. They taught me all about the difference between what I see on the screen and reality. The same logic was presented to me when it came to books. Certain books dealt with subject matter that might be above my weekly two-dollar allowance, but my parents and I kept an open dialogue about what I was reading and it was always a learning environment. I wasn’t watching any sexy-time television (save for the grainy sometimes-maybe-boob porn of searching for the playboy channel); it was just that the stories may have been offensive in some way. But a lot of it revolved around my curiosity to learn about all different ends of the literary realism in which I swam—or at least semi-paddled—to knowledge.

My parents knew how to guide me through what I was watching or reading. I don’t really subscribe to the same ideas as my parents—I will not show my daughter anything questionable—but when we read books at bedtime, she asks a lot of questions, because she’s curious. Reading begets life experience. It helps us understand the crazy world in which we live. It also acts as the perfect escape, allowing one to move seamlessly into someone else’s existence.

My parents did not “ban me” from certain movies or books, but instead, talked to me about the text and made sure that I was not only comfortable with the material, but also for the sake of opening the doors of conversation.

Most of all, my parents talked to me about life stuff and they did it before I hit seventh grade. I wasn’t finding out about my sexuality through a book as a young teenager. They used their position as authority figures to read with me, discuss the material, and make sure that I wasn’t looking at anything that served as a detriment to myself or those around me. You know what they’re not doing? They’re not banning a book.

Life lessons come in many forms. For some, it’s staring into a mirror. For others, it’s speculating on life’s happenings. Most of all, it’s whatever the characters want it to be and they are mostly willing to take us by the hand and help us enjoy the conversation.

It’s banned books week, and I wonder more an more why we are still holding onto these titles as if they will forever scar our children. It’s unfortunate since a good portion of those texts are vital to the life experience, and it’s sad that some students will not have access to, or even know about so many poignant pieces of writing.

So, yeah, Anne Frank had a vagina, and that’s obviously the most terrifying part of her diary.


Originally posted on The Big Smoke

Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin is a Curriculum Specialist for English Language Arts, Social Studies, World Languages, AP, IB, and College in the High Schools. He spent 12 years as a high school English teacher, working not only with students but also as a member of the district curriculum design team, developing the district’s Creative Writing course. He is a contributing blogger with The Columbian, NCTE, McGraw Hill Education, The Buck Institute of Education, Ed Tech, and The Medium. He currently resides in Vancouver, Washington, with his wife and daughter.

The Diary of a Young Girl: Censorship over Opportunity
90604how-not-to-be-offensitive http://blogs.columbian.com/confessions-of-an-educator/how-to-not-be-offensitive/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Why-Everyone-Needs-To-Stop-Being-Offended-By-Everything-fb-1024x535-600x313.jpg

How Not to Be Offensitive“Maybe, you might have some advice to give

How [not] to be [offensitive]….” – Jann Arden “Insensitive”

Offensitive – Easily offended and overly sensitive

I can be fairly sarcastic, a little sardonic, and sometimes I offend people with my off the cuff remarks. There were years where I introduced myself to classes by telling them, “I’m sarcastic, and if that doesn’t work for you, I have two doors in my classroom”. In no way was this helpful, or something that should have been said on the first day of school, nor did it endear me to those I was tasked with educating. It didn’t earn me respect, and frankly, it broke my chances at building a strong connection with several students who needed a positive influence, rather than a jerk. Maybe.

I have a really hard time not being myself in front of students. I have a good time with them, joking around, and having real conversation about life and how to live it. Maybe some students are just too offensitive – new word from Anthony Muhammad that means “too easily offended and overly sensitive”.

I think there is quite a bit of merit to being your most honest self in front of students. They need to see a real person in front of them. It used to be the norm for teachers to be robotic. They were there to instruct, and instruct only what was supposed to be taught. Teachers were the sage on the stage, with a book on the podium, a chalkboard behind them, and no time for the students in front of them. They lacked personality, and a way or want to connect with their most immediate stakeholders. This is not to say there weren’t incredible teachers throughout the 19th and 20th centuries who were wonderful at making honest connections, but that wasn’t the basis upon which education was built.

There is a need to be both of these teachers. We shouldn’t be the sage on the stage. We should stick to the theory that 10-15 minutes of direct instruction per hour is a solid amount of time, and that students should be working in groups, or in discussion, or in some type of activity that furthers their understanding and moves them toward content area proficiency.

But what do we do about the students who are super offensitive? There were always a good handful of students who didn’t appreciate my sarcasm, or somewhat dark humor, and I tried to make sure that with those kids I was careful, and intentional with my words. Code switching is important in those situations. It’s good to make sure you truly know your population, and know how to differentiate your approach. The offensitive students will pick up on the differences, and it will go a long way toward building those necessary relationships.

It is not the students who need to become less offensitive or develop thick skin, it’s the teacher who needs to know when to soften their own.

Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin is a Curriculum Specialist for English Language Arts, Social Studies, World Languages, AP, IB, and College in the High Schools. He spent 12 years as a high school English teacher, working not only with students but also as a member of the district curriculum design team, developing the district’s Creative Writing course. He is a contributing blogger with The Columbian, NCTE, McGraw Hill Education, The Buck Institute of Education, Ed Tech, and The Medium. He currently resides in Vancouver, Washington, with his wife and daughter.

How Not to Be Offensitive
90324the-death-knell-for-elementary-and-middle-schools-creating-the-new-standard-for-education http://blogs.columbian.com/confessions-of-an-educator/the-death-knell-for-elementary-and-middle-schools-creating-the-new-standard-for-education/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/08/F85AA795-9ECA-497B-BF63-BF8F7E53A909-600x364.jpeg

The Death Knell for Elementary and Middle Schools: Creating the New Standard for EducationI’m pretty sure it’s time to do away with all elementary and middle schools. We’ve seen enough. The students obviously know everything and since the grades don’t really matter and the permanent records only exist to taunt everyone, there is absolutely no point to Kindergarten through 8th grade. This is unfortunate for educators as it will lead to far fewer positions available; then again, there is such a teacher shortage at the moment, it might just revitalize the whole industry.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) provide a rubric for the essential skills needed to navigate through life, head toward higher education, or begin a career—or at least a job. The whole standards thing leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many parents and teachers alike. Unfortunately, these parents and teachers don’t really stop to understand what they actually mean for their children or students. The CCSS are the same damn thing teachers have been teaching—supposedly—since they ventured into the profession. The only difference is that now students at every level have a light at the end of the tunnel. They are no longer tethered to an “F” for a missing assignment or for a lack of understanding or because they had a family issue and couldn’t get it turned in on time.

Students have spent too many years in fairly unsupportive environments with teachers chiding them for not completely understanding the assignment. Unfortunately, many teachers negate the opportunity to help these students and instead tell them they should have listened or tried harder or done better or stayed during lunch or after school or not have gone to sleep or sporting events or dinner with their parents or work or babysit a sibling or do anything other than focus on the assignment they don’t understand because the teacher was unwilling to re-teach or go over or conference with or do much at all to show that student that they are capable of achieving the goal if they work hard, ask questions, and never give up.

Instead of providing students with straight A-F grades, they are simply asked to work until they have met that specific standard. If a student doesn’t meet a specific standard on an assignment in September, they are now able to complete it over and over again until they reach proficiency. As teachers, it’s easy to not want to grade, and re-grade, and re-grade. It’s tedious, and we get frustrated too easily with students who do not get things right the first time, or the 20th time. But we miss the fact that eventually they get it. Eventually, the student who works on it over and over and over and over again will turn in a paper that meets the goal.

I used to tell my students that “we can work with words on paper.” Words on paper will give students a starting point. It will allow them to show that they’ve at least given a quick attempt at something. But the problem is that students are still scared to ask a question. As cliché as it is, there are no stupid questions, and if one student has that question, then multiple students have the same one. Teachers need to realize that if more than two or three students have the same question or are confused about the same work, that they should simply re-teach or teach in a different way that helps with the confusion. It’s not okay for a teacher to simply shut down the students by saying they’ve already learned the information.

If we want to increase the graduation rates, teachers need to move into a standards system. Students need the ability to move up the ladder and know that they will always have the chance to complete work for a higher level of achievement. So then why do we need the primary or middle grades? Why can’t we just have one school system that moves on a vertically aligned system of grades and standards? We are no longer tethered to curriculum. The standards are our curriculum, and the content is used in order to provide a gateway to those standards. This can open the door to younger children having social skills courses, or typing classes, and once they’ve completed their work and earned at least proficiency for those courses, they will be able to move on to the next goal. If there are 100 goals to meet in order to reach graduation and a student meets them all at standard, why shouldn’t they be allowed to move on to higher education or a vocational program or an internship or whatever it is they want to do, considering they have proven themselves in all areas?

The education system is in a constant state of flux, but it’s headed in the right direction. No one will ever agree on how the system should be run, but we all want the same end result—creating a working-class citizen who has become their best self. People spend too much time complaining, rather than working with students and taking the time to understand that nothing much has changed, save for the now subtle light at the end of the sometimes-challenging tunnel.

Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin is a Curriculum Specialist for English Language Arts, Social Studies, World Languages, AP, IB, and College in the High Schools. He spent 12 years as a high school English teacher, working not only with students but also as a member of the district curriculum design team, developing the district’s Creative Writing course. He is a contributing blogger with The Columbian, NCTE, McGraw Hill Education, The Buck Institute of Education, Ed Tech, and The Medium. He currently resides in Vancouver, Washington, with his wife and daughter.

The Death Knell for Elementary and Middle Schools: Creating the New Standard for Education
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You Can’t Build a Time MachineI didn’t write my column last week. The days leading up to last Tuesday came and went, and I knew I needed to sit down and write up something, but I just couldn’t think of anything worth writing. At least that was the excuse I used. My wife kept reminding me that I needed to sit down and get it done. I just didn’t. I love writing these posts, but I just didn’t have it in me last week to actually do it. So, I didn’t do it..

I’m going to run with the excuse that because my dog had just gotten fixed, and was running around like a bull in a china shop, with this huge cone around his head. I’m going to say that it was so hot outside, that I just couldn’t pull myself away from the great outdoors. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of the sun, so that would be too obvious of a lie. I could say that I was busy gardening, or playing music, or writing the next great American novel. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, but life just got in the way. For so many students, life also gets in the way.

It can be hard to remember that the student sleeping on their desk might have worked the night prior, or had to take care of siblings, or had to do x, y, and z, and all were so much more important than school work. It wasn’t that they couldn’t do the work, it was that they were not able to actually do the work.

In my early years as a teacher, I had no problem telling a student that late work was unacceptable. It ended up in the recycling bin, or crumpled in the bottom of a backpack. I told them time and time again that they could always build a time machine. Where was my empathy? Where were the memories of similar moments? In no way was my response to their needs a positive one. I had my expectations, but they were unrealistic for both student and teacher.

In high school and beyond I was awesome at last minute work. I’d find a quiet space, toss on some headphones – typically a Miles Davis album – and get started. It was easy. I think my head works better under pressure. I do better when I don’t think too much about it, and just keep typing. In Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird, she urges writers to just move one word at a time, not overthinking anything, but rather putting word after word as they come. This means the drafts might be dirty, but they are on paper, and can always be edited and cleaned. As long as I could leave myself enough time to go back through the piece of writing and correct my errors, I was good to go. I think that because I loved this pressure-based writing, I just developed a knack for it. But still, if I don’t do the work it doesn’t really matter how good I think I am when it comes to a last minute finish.

But here I am, another Tuesday has arrived, and I’m just now sitting down to write today’s post. Sometimes we all do last minute work. Sometimes there are real life obstacles for students, teachers, professionals, and everyone else in this world. I did not complete my post last week, and I do not have a time machine. It’s Tuesday, I am running against a deadline, and this is my last sentence.


Follow Chris Margolin on Twitter @theEDUquestion

Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin is a Curriculum Specialist for English Language Arts, Social Studies, World Languages, AP, IB, and College in the High Schools. He spent 12 years as a high school English teacher, working not only with students but also as a member of the district curriculum design team, developing the district’s Creative Writing course. He is a contributing blogger with The Columbian, NCTE, McGraw Hill Education, The Buck Institute of Education, Ed Tech, and The Medium. He currently resides in Vancouver, Washington, with his wife and daughter.

You Can’t Build a Time Machine
90254you-cant-shame-your-way-to-success-2 http://blogs.columbian.com/confessions-of-an-educator/you-cant-shame-your-way-to-success/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/08/ori_2382_1240349174_1122595_43-1024x768-600x450.jpeg

You can’t Shame Your Way to SuccessIf you’re anything like the many people who step on the scale every morning, after enjoying a night – or full day of – candy, soda, and carbs, you’re probably still really angry that the count is continuously higher than yesterday’s. Regardless, you step down, glare in the mirror, and in your faux-drill-sergeant voice you bellow, “You keep doing this, over, and over again. You’re never going to learn. Why don’t you listen to anyone? Try a bit harder. Meet standard!” Meeting standard has become an all too important part of life. It has also become an important part of education.

It’s annoying to have to convince ourselves, almost daily, that we are not up to “standard,” but we can sure get there if we “try a bit harder”. It’s really easy to bellow words into a mirror each morning, step on that scale, or into the classroom, and continue the frivolous attempt at shaming yourself toward meeting standard. It’s not nice. It’s not kind. It doesn’t help move yourself any farther toward success. It’s a lot harder to actually put in the effort and time to get there.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I was not a believer in the Common Core State Standards until I watched my wife teach, work with students, and grade their papers with feedback rather than a grade. They learned because they knew why they needed the information; it was never a you must, but rather a you can. It was stated via conferences, or feedback on papers, or class discussions, or peer-to-peer discussions. There wasn’t really a grade, because why would anyone grade that which the students really don’t yet understand. Eventually there would be a formative and summative assessment, but even those weren’t final grades, because the student would have more opportunities to meet proficiency. They didn’t have to go backwards, instead, they could look at the next assignment, and know where, and how, to improve their work. They trusted her as a teacher, and she trusted them as students. They all worked for each other.

Deep down I knew that every student should be allowed the opportunity to succeed at each part of the learning process; however, I had somehow lost track of the simple concept that we are not all the same person. Students do not all learn at the same pace, level, or even similar materials. But I was so stuck in this pattern of wanting to change, saying it out-loud, and then doing absolutely nothing to make it better. I was still stepping on the scale each and every morning.

From watching her classroom over time, I became not just a believer in the standards, but I practiced, and preached them to all who would listen. They were one solution to my constant conversation with the mirror. I also realized that beyond the assessments, came the way that students interacted with each other, and learned from each other. It was inspiring. I know that I had, at one point, been that excited about being in a classroom, but now I just seem to be going through the motions.

So, what do we, not just as teachers, but as people, in order to not just move toward change, and promise change, but actually change? If we’ve seen that the numbers never move in the right direction, or that grade books are cluttered with random homework assignments, it’s time to find something different. If you are stagnant, and never get out of your seat, or have your students get out of theirs, it’s time to rethink the way you utilize your classroom. If you stand in front of your classroom and teach at your students rather than with your students, or for your students, you need to rethink the way you approach your classes. If they are not having fun, or if you are not having fun, something needs to shift.

Step away from the scale, and from what you’ve been doing. Give yourself a solid year of change. Seek out professionals, read books, visit classrooms, and ask for help. You will be more confident. You will be okay with buying new clothes, and trying things you’ve never tried before; you will learn a valuable lesson. Then, in a year you can hop on that scale with pride, and know that you have busted through your own standard, and gone far beyond one-year’s growth in one-year’s time.


Follow Chris Margolin / The Education Question on Twitter: @theEDUquestion

Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin is a Curriculum Specialist for English Language Arts, Social Studies, World Languages, AP, IB, and College in the High Schools. He spent 12 years as a high school English teacher, working not only with students but also as a member of the district curriculum design team, developing the district’s Creative Writing course. He is a contributing blogger with The Columbian, NCTE, McGraw Hill Education, The Buck Institute of Education, Ed Tech, and The Medium. He currently resides in Vancouver, Washington, with his wife and daughter.

You can’t Shame Your Way to Success
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That is approximately how much LeBron James will make per second of each NBA game for the next 4 seasons. Let’s multiply that by however many professional athletes in the United States, and then take a look around our classrooms. Take a look around your office. Take a look at your supplies. Take a look at the desks, the chairs, the carpet. More importantly, take a look at the curriculum in front of you. Are you a 1:1 district? How old are the textbooks? Do your students have pencils? Food? Shoes?

Whether or not athletes should make this much money has been hot-button issue for as long as there have been professional sports. According to a 2012 study from Next Gen Personal Finance, there are roughly 5000 professional athletes within the United States in the core four sports: Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey. While not many players will ever make LeBron James money, a lot of them will make more than half our day’s wages in less than 5 minutes of each game played.

Our nation does not have a top education system. In fact, we don’t even rank in the top ten. “In a 2015 Pew Research Center report, only 29% of Americans rated their country’s K-12 education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (known as STEM) as above average or the best in the world.” but it would be nice if each of our school districts could at least provide students with basic necessities. Aren’t we exhausted by opening the broken books that we’ve been using since the mid-seventies? The underfunding of our public education system is a dead horse that we keep on beating, but it’s still dead, and we still don’t have the necessary resources to support our students. Many teachers can’t even afford to live within the boundaries of the school they serve.

The reason professional athletes make as much as they do is because we believe there are so few people who can do what they do at that level; it’s so special that we pay them an exorbitant amount. It is widely know that there is a teacher shortage, yet society seems to view teachers as a dime a dozen. Good teachers are becoming just as scarce as professional athletes. Where else would anyone accept that the majority of substitutes are on emergency certificates – meaning non-credentialed educators - and that teachers are placed in content areas in which they are clearly unqualified. Educators are a valuable resource, so how do we adjust society’s viewpoint so that what we do is seen as that special. Teachers are not benchwarmers; they are masters of their craft, and should be seen, and paid, as thus.




Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin is a Curriculum Specialist for English Language Arts, Social Studies, World Languages, AP, IB, and College in the High Schools. He spent 12 years as a high school English teacher, working not only with students but also as a member of the district curriculum design team, developing the district’s Creative Writing course. He is a contributing blogger with The Columbian, NCTE, McGraw Hill Education, The Buck Institute of Education, Ed Tech, and The Medium. He currently resides in Vancouver, Washington, with his wife and daughter.

One-Hundred-Sixty-Three-Dollars Per Second – by Chris & Courtney Margolin
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The Principals of Speed DatingEven though it’s been a handful of years since I was a classroom teacher, or even since I’ve been to the building in which I began my career, I still hold fond memories of my classroom with its decades-old yellowed-carpet, held down with duct tape, and years worth of old gum, and soda stains. We went through a lot of construction, and a lot changes in theory and practice. Mostly though, we went through a lot of administrators. It was like sitting down at some niche bar, creating a list of conversation topics, and likes, and dislikes, and hoping that someone in that room would take your life in the right direction. You wanted a leader who would want to stick around.

Sometimes when you get into a new relationship, you make the mistake of opening your mouth, and asking, “so, um… how many dates have you…..”, and before you can even finish the sentence, you watch all the sizzle fall out of whatever could have been.

You had already fallen in love with the idea of a future together. Everything was new. Everything was exciting. Things were moving in a new direction with new dynamics, and constantly changing positions. You would spend your days taking care of all your children, and then complaining about them as soon as they’re out of the room.

But, then there are problems. There’s some type of miscommunication. An argument about how to get those damn kids to graduate. Or maybe you catch wind that they have been keeping their eyes open for another opportunity – something more exciting, more suited to their current needs. Maybe the respect fades. The trust wanes. You swear you’ll stick it out for the rest of the year – at least until the kids graduate. When graduation comes, and the kids move away, you say your goodbyes to them, and to each other. There’s a divorce. It’s bitter, but amicable. You all keep with what you brought into the relationship, but there’s an emptiness in the brick-and-mortar, and a hope for brighter times.

Because you’re not someone who can wait too long to move on, you place an ad online. You list all of your minimum requirements in a partner, as well as a bit about yourself, and your hopes for the future. You want a leader. You want someone who has experience. Someone who can move in quickly – even if it’s too soon. Really, you just need someone, and hopefully they are good enough. At least for a while. At least as a rebound.

I spent 11 years in one school with 17 administrative changes. I once told a principal – I think it was my fourth – that I felt like I was locked in a rotating door of bad relationships. There was always a hopeful honeymoon where you promise that you on the same wavelength, and that teachers will have more time together, and students will see more growth over the course of the year. While we really want to hold onto that hope, we’ve heard it before, only to watch it all blow up at the end of the year when leadership, once again, changes.

Sometimes it’s good to move slowly. Sometimes it is good to take time to get acquainted. It’s okay to start as friends, maintain a bit of status-quo until you begin to hold hands, and smile with hope for a brighter future.

Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin is a Curriculum Specialist for English Language Arts, Social Studies, World Languages, AP, IB, and College in the High Schools. He spent 12 years as a high school English teacher, working not only with students but also as a member of the district curriculum design team, developing the district’s Creative Writing course. He is a contributing blogger with The Columbian, NCTE, McGraw Hill Education, The Buck Institute of Education, Ed Tech, and The Medium. He currently resides in Vancouver, Washington, with his wife and daughter.

The Principals of Speed Dating
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Teach Like It’s The 21st CenturyIn the beginning there were desks. There was a chalkboard. There was a podium. There were students in rows, pencils at the ready, notebooks opened, and a sage on the stage who preached grammar, and geography, and math, but gave no thought to the students in front of them. They were there to listen, learn, keep their mouths shut, and their bodies at attention, always.

In the pictures from the late 19th century and early 20th century make education look so drab, dry, and boring. Everyone in uniforms. No creativity from a visual sense, or an educational sense. Teachers were not designing their unit plans, or bringing in materials that would inspire most students. Instead, they taught straight from textbooks, or lectured on minutia they thought was important.Teach Like It’s The 21st Century

So, why hasn’t it changed? Why are students still sitting in rows? Why are textbooks still the daily lesson plan? Why are students not standing up, going to stations, having constant conversations, building things, reading from outside materials, and rockin’ all the visual literacy in the everyday world. Why are so many teachers so unwilling to grow with their students, learn from their students, and provide students with materials that truly engage the stakeholders in the classroom.

My experience as a student was not very positive. In all of high school, I think I really connected with two teachers. I didn’t enjoy being there. I wanted to read, and write, and learn about why I wanted to read and write. But I was stuck in a desk. I was stuck with the same Language and Literature and Question and Form books that I still see on teacher bookshelves throughout the last three districts in which I’ve worked. I didn’t attend many classes my junior year of high school. I was much more interested in music, my girlfriend, and the library. I didn’t skip school to get stoned; I skipped, and hopped the bus to the downtown Portland library, and read all day long. It was more engaging than school. I learned so much more from picking up Crime and Punishment, or Rolling Stone, than I did from a molding textbook.

One of the main reasons I became a teacher was to make sure that students were not as bored as I had been. I wanted to make sure that I actually met them where they were at, and let them know that they could read materials they wanted, and that we would only use the textbook a couple times a year. If my students wanted to be auto-mechanics, then if we were doing lit circles, or some time of sustained reading, they could bring in auto-manuals. If they loved video games, bring in a guide book. If they wanted to read the newspaper, a magazine, a news-based website, they could do that as well.

And they worked.

And they enjoyed the work.

Because it didn’t feel like work.

When we moved through different themes, say Social Justice, students looked for news articles, TV spots, court transcripts, and whatever else they could find that focused on the issue, and could be shared with the class. Instead of raised-hand discussions, we did Philosophical Chairs and Socratic Seminars. My desks were in a U shape so everyone could see everyone else. I didn’t stand in the front of the classroom unless there was a real need. I sat with my students. I worked with my students. I learned from my students.

We are in a mobile world – both in screen and movement. Stagnation leads to a lack of learning. We should be out of our seats, or in groups, or doing something that engages body and brain. We are in the 21st century, and if you are still teaching like it’s the 20th, then you need to catch up with the times.


Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin is a Curriculum Specialist for English Language Arts, Social Studies, World Languages, AP, IB, and College in the High Schools. He spent 12 years as a high school English teacher, working not only with students but also as a member of the district curriculum design team, developing the district’s Creative Writing course. He is a contributing blogger with The Columbian, NCTE, McGraw Hill Education, The Buck Institute of Education, Ed Tech, and The Medium. He currently resides in Vancouver, Washington, with his wife and daughter.

Teach Like It’s The 21st Century
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Write the Real, Not the “Real”Write the real. Notice there are no quotation marks around the word “real” in that first sentence; it’s because the words that should go down on paper are those that actually represent what actually happens either in real life, or in the thought process of real life, or in the real life lessons learned over time, or in the real understanding of real circumstances. In essence, don’t lie to the reader, because the reader will close the book, and walk away, and forget that the words ever existed.

Tell it like it is. Throw no sucker punches – life’s day-to-day twists are more than enough. Don’t write for shock value. Don’t try to figure out what’s already happened. The reader gets nothing from scenes that don’t represent the real.

Now, this doesn’t mean that your piece needs to be one of realism. Science-Fiction, Fantasy, and Magical Realism all represent ideas that people have, or lessons that need to be learned. If we think about it, there’s nothing new learned from Star Wars; it’s simply the story of family, friendship, struggle, and survival. It’s the same for “The Very Old Man With Enormous Wings,” in the way that it’s the story of judgement, degradation, and the inability to overcome certain fears and stereotypes.

It is not the author’s job to give you a new reality, but to simply ask you to think about your own – to find your own story within the one they are providing. To use their characters as mirrors rather than windows.

It’s far too easy to merely observe Holden Caulfield, or J Gatsby, or Moll Flanders, and think that none of those stories apply to you while you’re reading. It’s much more difficult to stare at those characters as if you’re looking back at yourself. We are all Holden in the way that we all struggle to figure out who we really are, and we all swim through a world of “phony” people, or deal with families that don’t seem to care, or our own psyche that tells us everything is wrong. We are all wanting so badly to be J. Gatsby, and never worry about a thing – at least on the outside – and live a life of the surreal where everything just comes to us, and love is easy, and work is easy, and money is easy, while in reality, we know that we can only live that lie for so long, and that at some point it will always lead back to staring across the water toward the green light.

It’s the author’s job to show you reality; it’s your job to admit to it.

Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin is a Curriculum Specialist for English Language Arts, Social Studies, World Languages, AP, IB, and College in the High Schools. He spent 12 years as a high school English teacher, working not only with students but also as a member of the district curriculum design team, developing the district’s Creative Writing course. He is a contributing blogger with The Columbian, NCTE, McGraw Hill Education, The Buck Institute of Education, Ed Tech, and The Medium. He currently resides in Vancouver, Washington, with his wife and daughter.

Write the Real, Not the “Real”
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When the Sidewalk Never EndsI don’t remember how old I was when my mom brought home a copy of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, but I know it’s the first book of poems that I remember reading. I still have my copies of both that book, as well as A Light in the Attic, and while both are tattered, and leaking from their seams, they have been forever loved, and forever staples in my book collection.

I grew up in a household of readers – my father is a collector of all things Sherlock Holmes, and my mother a school teacher who loves books. There was never a time where I wasn’t surrounded by words. In fact, in my childhood bedroom, my dad kept one of his bookcases because he had run out of room in his upstairs library. My middle name is Holmes. I’m not happy about it.

Some of my earliest memories are my mother tucking me in at night, underneath the same two blue blankets that I kept on my bed until my wife finally threw them away, and reading to me from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. I don’t think we ever outgrew that book, reading those stories over and over again until I could recite each one of them from memory.

When I was a child, I was never very fascinated with television, and so books were all I wanted, and when I wasn’t outside playing with friends, book were all I had. I read anything I could get my hands on, and devoured everything around me: fiction, non-fiction, historical novels, choose your own adventures, and poetry.

I remember after reading through the Shel Silverstein books, I wanted to start writing my own pieces. My first poem was called “I’m Rubber, and You’re Glue,” and while I’m sure the spelling was wrong, and I know I copied the title and idea, my 5-year-old self was so excited when my mom read it and put it up on the fridge. It was a shining moment for a burgeoning authorPossibly plagiarized, but a shining moment nonetheless. I was going to be a writer when I grew up!

It’s funny though, because I don’t remember any books of poetry between Shel Silverstein, and my discovery of Langston Hughes in my junior year of high school. Ms. Wood, my English teacher both freshman and junior year, had us write a paper on an American Poet. I was having a really difficult time deciding who I would choose. I didn’t know a lot of names, and I remember going back and forth between Adrianne Rich and Langston Hughes. Eventually, either she got tired of waiting for me, or she saw something in me that made her hand me Hughes’ name on a sheet of paper. It was life-changing. I couldn’t get enough of him – still can’t! I wanted to read everything he’d ever written, from his earliest poems through his communist party brochures, and children’s books, and essays, and everything in between. The music in his words spoke to me like Silverstein’s had when I was just a child, except for this time, I was learning about a much more adult world.

In college, I ventured from Hughes to Yeats, and Keats, and Browning, and Shelly, and Donne, and Blake, and Wordsworth, and my fascination with 16th through 19th century British poetry grew at an increasing rate. The bleakness of their words, the raw honesty, and emotion with which they wrote. The way that I could see everything that happened in their time just by reading a short stanza. It was so enthralling.

As time has moved on, I have fallen in love with new poets – Rudy Francisco, Taylor Mali, Shane Koyczan, Mark Halliday, Donald Justice, Shihan, and so many more – and I’ve continued to learn from each and every one of them.

What I have found, as a reader, is that the sidewalk never ends; there is always another adventure from which to choose, another path yet traveled. Reading isn’t just fundamental, it is essential to the soul. Read to yourself, to your children, to your friends, to a stranger at a bus stop, but never stop reading.

Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin is a Curriculum Specialist for English Language Arts, Social Studies, World Languages, AP, IB, and College in the High Schools. He spent 12 years as a high school English teacher, working not only with students but also as a member of the district curriculum design team, developing the district’s Creative Writing course. He is a contributing blogger with The Columbian, NCTE, McGraw Hill Education, The Buck Institute of Education, Ed Tech, and The Medium. He currently resides in Vancouver, Washington, with his wife and daughter.

When the Sidewalk Never Ends
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A new study found the use of a common class of drugs is associated with an increased risk of dementia – even when taken 20 years before a dementia diagnosis.

The international research team from the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland analyzed more than 27 million prescriptions for anticholinergic drugs. They compared those prescriptions as recorded in the medical records of 40,770 patients over 65 years old with dementia to the records of nearly 284,000 older adults without dementia.

The researchers found a greater incidence of dementia among those who were prescribed anticholinergic antidepressants, bladder medications and Parkinson’s disease medications than among those not prescribed anticholinergic medications.

Dementia increased with greater exposure to the drugs, according to researchers.

Anticholinergic medications block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, and have previously been implicated as a potential cause of cognitive impairment, said Noll Campbell, Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University Center for Aging Research investigator and co-author of the new study, in a news release.

“These findings make it clear that clinicians need to carefully consider the anticholinergic burden of their patients and weigh other options,” said study co-author Dr. Malaz Boustani, a Regenstrief Institute and IU Center for Aging Research investigator, in the news release.

Further research is needed to understand the reasons for the link between the drugs and increased dementia risk, the researchers said.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

Study: Common class of drugs linked to increased risk of dementia
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While Clark County has more physicians and more primary care providers per 100,000 than the state average, it lags behind in several specialties and psychiatry, according to a new report by the state Office of Financial Management.

Clark County also has a higher rate of female physicians per 100,000 people and has the youngest median age of physicians in the state, according to the report.

The new report by the office’s Health Care Research Center looks at the state’s physician supply using data from 2016.

Clark County has 263 physicians per 100,000 residents – only slightly higher than the state rate of 261. Clark County was one of only eight counties with rates higher than the state average.

County rates ranged from a high of 402 physicians per 100,000 in Chelan County to a low of 19 in Wahkiakum County.

Clark County also has a higher-than-average rate of primary care providers per 100,000 residents: 122. The state rate is 96 providers per 100,000.

But when it comes to specialists, Clark County is below the state rate of 165 per 100,000. Clark County has 141 specialists per 100,000 residents – better than 29 other counties.

Clark County also falls below the state rates for anesthesiologists, cardiologists, emergency medicine providers, family medicine providers, psychiatrists and radiologists. The county exceeds the state rates for internal medicine providers, obstetricians/gynecologists, pediatricians and surgeons.

In total, Clark County had 1,215 physicians, accounting for 6.5 percent of the state’s physician workforce.

The five most populous counties in the state – King, Pierce, Spokane, Snohomish and Clark – had 73 percent of the state’s total physicians while accounting for just 65 percent of the state’s population.

Female physicians in Clark County make up 39.5 percent of the physician workforce compared with 37 percent statewide. Only three counties had higher rates than Clark County: Columbia (42 percent), King (41.7 percent) and Snohomish (40.5 percent).

Across the state, 60 percent of physicians obtained their first state license since 2000. In Clark County, however, 72.6 percent of physicians received their first license since. Only Lincoln County had a higher rate (73.9 percent).

So, not surprisingly, Clark County has the youngest median age of physicians: 47 years old. At the other end of the spectrum is Garfield County, where the median age is 63 years old. Most counties have a median age higher than the statewide median age of 50.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

Report: Clark County has higher rates of female, young doctors
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Want to avoid E. coli? Better stay away from chopped romaine lettuce.

The number of people sickened in a multistate E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce has climbed to 53 people in 16 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is recommending people don’t eat any store-bought chopped romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes with romaine lettuce. Even those who have eaten some of the lettuce and have not gotten sick should toss the lettuce, the CDC warned.

Health officials suspect that chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region is the source of the outbreak, but no common grower, supplier, distributor or brand has been identified.

The CDC first announced the E. coli outbreak on April 10. At the time, health officials had identified 17 cases in seven states.

On April 13, the CDC announced the outbreak link to chopped romaine lettuce. By then, 35 people had been sickened in 11 states.

And in the week since then, 18 more people and five states were added to the outbreak. Washington has reported one case.

Ill people range in age from 10 to 85, with a median age of 34. Seventy percent of ill people are women, according to the CDC.

Since the outbreak began, 31 people have been hospitalized with the infection, including five people who have developed kidney failure, according to the CDC. No deaths have been reported.


Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

Romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak continues to grow
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Researchers at Washington State University have confirmed what medical marijuana users have been saying for years: Smoking pot helps with anxiety, stress and depression.

The WSU researchers looked at how self-reported levels of stress, anxiety and depression were affected by smoking different strains and quantities of cannabis at home.

They concluded that smoking cannabis can significantly reduce short-term levels of depression, anxiety and stress but may contribute to worse overall feelings of depression over time.

This research is unique because it looked at inhaled marijuana use in the home, whereas most of the previous research has been conducted in a laboratory using orally administered pills, according to a WSU news release.

The WSU researchers assessed how use of cannabis with varying concentrations of chemical compounds tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) affected users’ feelings of wellbeing.

They found that one puff of cannabis high in CBD and low in THC was best for reducing symptoms of depression.

Those looking to reduce anxiety symptoms responded best to two puffs of any type of cannabis. And 10 or more puffs of cannabis high in CBD and high in THC produced the largest reductions in stress, according to the researchers.

While both men and women reported decreases in symptoms for all three conditions after using cannabis, women reported a significantly greater reduction in anxiety following cannabis use, according to the news release.

“This is to my knowledge one of the first scientific studies to provide guidance on the strains and quantities of cannabis people should be seeking out for reducing stress, anxiety and depression,” said Carrie Cuttler, clinical assistant professor of psychology at WSU and lead author of the study, in the news release. “Currently, medical and recreational cannabis users rely on the advice of bud tenders whose recommendations are based off of anecdotal not scientific evidence.”

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

WSU researchers study effects of pot on depression, anxiety
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New research shows that a marijuana compound ends up in mom’s breast milk, but the exact consequences of that are still unclear.

Research published this month in Obstetrics and Gynecology looked at marijuana use among eight women in Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal. The women were between two and five months postpartum and were all exclusively breastfeeding.

“This study is just a start to see if marijuana transferred into breast milk. Levels in milk were quite low,” said senior study author Thomas Hale, director of the Infant Risk Center at Texas Tech University School of Medicine in Amarillo, in a HealthDay article.

Still, researchers advised against women smoking marijuana while breastfeeding because there’s no known safe amount.

The anonymous women in the study all used marijuana, but the amount they used varied. Most used it infrequently; one woman said she used it seven to 10 times in the prior week.

The women used a provided breast milk collection kit that included bottles for the breast milk, as well as a new glass pipe for smoking marijuana to avoid contamination from past drugs.

The women were then instructed to buy a specific strain of marijuana from a specific dispensary to ensure a consistent dose. They were asked to stop smoking marijuana for 24 hours prior to smoking for the test.

The mothers then collected breast milk samples one, two and four hours after smoking for the test. About 2.5 percent of the amount the mother smoked was found in the milk. The test looked for a specific compound, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.

The researchers said more work needs to be done to get a better understanding. For instance, the study only looked at inhaled marijuana. It’s also unclear whether the amount of marijuana in the breast milk would rise if a woman smokes more or if levels would be different among heavy users.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

Research shows marijuana ends up in breast milk
95894survey-young-women-dont-see-std-risk-4 http://blogs.columbian.com/healthbeat/2018/04/11/survey-young-women-dont-see-std-risk/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/11/cropped-HEALTHBEAT-FINAL-LOGOrgb.png

While more than half of young women are sexually active, more than 85 percent of those who are do not believe they are at risk for chlamydia or gonorrhea, according to a new report.

Quest Diagnostics surveyed thousands of young women 15 to 24 years old, their mothers and primary care and OB/GYN providers about sexual activity, sexual health and knowledge of and screening for STDs.

The results showed a disconnect between sexual activity and perceived risk among young women, as well as poor communication between patients and providers.

The survey found that 56 percent of young women are sexually active, but of those, only 39 percent said their partner used a condom the last time they had sex.

And while STD rates have been on the rise – gonorrhea rates are up 19 percent since 2015, chlamydia rates are up 5 percent – young women are more worried about HIV/AIDs, according to the survey.

About 40 percent of survey respondents said they’re concerned about HIV/AIDS, while 20 percent said they were concerned about chlamydia and only 16 percent were worried about gonorrhea.

Yet of those who are sexually active, only 56 percent said they’ve been tested for an STD, according to the survey.

But the survey also revealed that physicians may be contributing to the problem.

A quarter of physicians said they were very uncomfortable discussing STD risk with female patients. In addition, one in three physicians said they relied on symptoms to diagnose an STD, even though infections can be present without symptoms, according to the survey.

About half of young women said they don’t want to bring up sex or STDs with their providers, and less than 25 percent of women would ask their provider for an STD test.

On the flip side, nearly 50 percent of women said their provider has never asked them if they want STD testing.

And when young women do talk about sex with their doctor, they’re not always truthful. About a quarter of young women admitted they don’t always tell the truth. Among 15- to 17-year-olds, that rate is much higher: 43 percent.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

Survey: Young women don’t see STD risk
95897surgeon-general-urges-people-to-carry-opioid-antidote-4 http://blogs.columbian.com/healthbeat/2018/04/05/surgeon-general-urges-people-to-carry-opioid-antidote/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/11/naloxone-600x399.jpg

In an effort to combat the opioid’s crisis, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams says more Americans should be carrying the overdose antidote naloxone.

Adams released a public health advisory Thursday, recommending more people carry the medication that is already carried by many first responders. Individuals, including family, friends and those who are personally at risk for an opioid overdose, should have the drug on hand, according to the advisory.

Naloxone, which is delivered via nasal mist or injection, can counteract the effects of an opioid overdose. While it’s not a long-term solution, it can temporarily suspend the overdose effects until emergency responders arrive, according to the surgeon general.

In many states, including Washington, a prescription isn’t required to get naloxone from a pharmacist. Most states also have laws designed to protect providers who dispense and Samaritans who deliver naloxone or call for help during an opioid overdose, according to a news release from the surgeon general’s office.

The surgeon general’s public health advisory is part of the administrations ongoing effort to respond to the rising number of overdose deaths. Since 2010, the number of opioid overdose deaths has doubled from more than 21,000 to more than 42,000 in 2016, according to the news release.

The biggest increase in opioid overdose deaths were related to illicitly made fentanyl and synthetic opioids, according to the news release.

“Each day we lose 115 Americans to an opioid overdose – that’s one person every 12.5 minutes,” Adams said in the news release. “It is time to make sure more people have access to this lifesaving medication, because 77 percent of opioid overdose deaths occur outside of a medical setting and more than half occur at home.”

Naloxone is covered by most insurance plans and, for those without insurance, may be available at no or low cost through public health programs or retailer and manufacturer discounts, according to the news release.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

Surgeon general urges people to carry opioid antidote
95900poll-majority-will-buy-own-health-plan-even-without-mandate-4 http://blogs.columbian.com/healthbeat/2018/04/04/poll-majority-will-buy-own-health-plan-even-without-mandate/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/11/reform-531x460.jpg

The vast majority of people say they will continue to buy their own health insurance, even without an individual mandate requiring they do so, according to a new poll.

The March Kaiser Health Tracking Poll surveyed non-group health plan enrollees about the individual mandate and their health coverage.

As part of the Republican tax plan signed at the end of 2017, lawmakers eliminated the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate penalty beginning in 2019.

Only about 19 percent of respondents were aware the mandate penalty had been repealed but is still in effect for this year. Regardless, 90 percent of respondents said they will continue to purchase their own insurance, even with the individual mandate repeal.

About 34 percent of respondents said the mandate was a “major reason” why they purchased insurance in the first place.

The poll also found that about half of the public believes the health plan marketplaces are collapsing. The rate is higher (about 60 percent) among those who purchase plans through the marketplaces.

Among those who are uninsured, the top reason for not having health insurance is its high cost (36 percent) and job-related issues, such as unemployment or their employer not offering health insurance (20 percent).

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

Poll: Majority will buy own health plan, even without mandate
95903medical-costs-still-preventing-people-from-visiting-doctor-4 http://blogs.columbian.com/healthbeat/2018/03/29/medical-costs-still-preventing-people-from-visiting-doctor/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/11/cash-600x384.jpg

In the past year, 44 percent of people report skipping a visit to the doctor when they were sick or injured because of the cost of being seen.

And about 40 percent say they skipped a recommended medical test or procedure because of the cost, according to a new national poll.

The survey, conducted by West Health Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago, asked more than 1,300 adults how they feel about medical costs and how those costs affect their decisions.

More people fear the medical bills that come with a serious illness (40 percent) than the illness itself (33 percent), according to the survey.

Other interesting findings:

“The high cost of healthcare has become a public health crisis that cuts across all ages as more Americans are delaying or going without recommended medical tests and treatments,” said Dr. Zia Agha, chief medical officer at the West Health Institute, in a news release. “According to this survey, most Americans do not feel they are getting a good value for their healthcare dollars, and the rising cost of healthcare is clearly having a direct consequence on American’s health-and financial well-being.”

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

Medical costs still preventing people from visiting doctor
100324coconut-macaroon-nests-8 http://blogs.columbian.com/sugar-and-spice/2018/03/28/coconut-macaroon-nests/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/IMG_1601-1-1024x768-600x450.jpg

Coconut Macaroon NestsCoconut Macaroon Nests will totally be on the table at Easter brunch next weekend.  Although they’re a bit messy to make, they look adorable and taste great.  Feel free to make these a day or two ahead so you have less to manage on Sunday.

Coconut Macaroon Nests

Makes 24 nests



Heat oven to 300.  Coat mini muffin pans with non stick cooking spray.

Use a stand mixer to combine egg whites, sugar, salt, vanilla, coconut and almond extract.  Mix briefly.  Add shredded coconut and mix until combined.

Scoop 1 T blobs of coconut into the prepared muffin pan.  Grease a smaller item (I have a narrow bottomed shot glass) such as wine cork and gently press it down into the coconut to create the nest-like shape.  It can be messy, it will look like twigs after you bake it.

Bake for 30 minutes until nests set and edges are golden brown.  If it’s browning too quickly, cover the pan with foil.  Set aside and cool completely.

Carefully remove nests from pan.  I used a small spatula to wiggle around the edges and pop them out.  You WILL lose some… I started with 30 and ended up with 24 intact.  It just happens.

Carefully melt chocolate chips in a plastic bag in the microwave, using 30 second intervals and checking often.  Drizzle into nests and carefully stick the eggs to the chocolate.  Feel free to put a bit of chocolate on the back of an egg to “glue” it to the others.  Cool completely and serve.

Recipe modified from “Macaroon Nests,” inspiredbycharm.com

Coconut Macaroon Nests

Anna Lookingbill

I'm a self-taught Betty Crocker. Food should be pretty, delicious and have sprinkles. Professionally I'm a clinical social worker. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest- Sugar and Spice Baking Blog- for great recipes, amazing restaurants and culinary adventures.

Coconut Macaroon Nests
95906study-thousands-of-children-injured-in-hoverboard-falls-3 http://blogs.columbian.com/healthbeat/2018/03/27/study-thousands-of-children-injured-in-hoverboard-falls/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/11/hoverboard-600x417.jpg

New research reveals that nearly 27,000 children and teens were treated at hospital emergency departments for injuries sustained while riding hoverboards during the first two years of sales.

Researchers analyzed 2015-16 injury data among children younger than 18 and found that injuries were most common among 12-year-old boys.

The body parts most often injured are what you would expect with falls: wrist (19 percent) and forearm (14 percent). Head injuries also accounted for 14 percent of injuries, according to the research published in Pediatrics.

Fractures were the most common diagnosis (40 percent), followed by contusions (17 percent) and strains or sprains (13 percent).

Only three burns were reported during the research period, despite hoverboards being known for spontaneously catching fire during those early years.

None of the burns was caused by malfunctioning batteries. Rather, two of the burns resulted from patients being scalded while riding a hoverboard in the kitchen and colliding with a pot of boiling water. The third was a friction burn that developed after the patient’s finger was ran over by a hoverboard, according to the researchers.

The researchers also looked at skateboard injury data. More than 121,000 children visited emergency departments during that two-year period with skateboard injuries. Again, 12-year-old boys accounted for most of those injuries, according to researchers.

And like hoverboard injuries, wrists were the most frequently injured body part among skateboarders and fractures were the most common diagnosis.

But while the majority of hoverboard injuries occurred in homes, skateboard injuries were most common on the street.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

Study: Thousands of children injured in hoverboard falls
100329super-lemon-coffee-cake-8 http://blogs.columbian.com/sugar-and-spice/2018/03/25/super-lemon-coffee-cake/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/IMG_1377-1-1024x768-600x450.jpg

I’m a food nerd.  Completely comfortable with this title, it means I read cookbooks for fun (yes really), take pictures of everyone’s food at restaurants (sorry not sorry) and take about 5 hours in any kitchen store (I told you to get a coffee and bring a book).

Food nerd status also means I love testing new ingredients.  After few weeks ago I went crazy with coconut milk powder in Creamy Coconut Cheesecake.  After the dust settled, I finally got around experimenting with lemon juice powder.  It’s literally dehydrated fresh lemon juice, the idea is to pack a lot of bright, lemony punch into a small amount.  (Side note, don’t try eating it directly, it’s super duper sour).  Lemon juice powder is absolutely worth adding to your baking collection.

Super Lemon Coffee Cake

Serves 12


Lemon Streusel

Lemon Coffee Cake

Lemon Glaze


Heat oven to 350.  Carefully grease a tube pan (at least 10 C capacity).  A tube pan is another name for an angel food cake pan with a removable bottom.

To prepare lemon streusel, combine all dry ingredients except for pecans.  Cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter or a fork until mixture is coarse crumbs.  Mix in pecans.  Set aside.

To prepare lemon coffee cake, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, lemon juice powder and cinnamon.  Set aside.

Use a stand mixer to cream butter and lemon extract.  Add sugar and beat at least 2 minutes, until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, scrape sides if needed.  Add sour cream.

Remove bowl from stand.  Use a spatula to gently stir in dry ingredients.

Spoon about half the batter into the prepared tube pan.  Sprinkle half the lemon streusel.  Finish with batter and more streusel.  Gently tap the pan on the counter to prevent bubbles.

Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.  Allow to cool slightly and run a thin knife around the edges to loosen.  Turn the cake on to a plate and place another plate on top, flipping it over so the streusel is visible.  Allow to cool completely.

To make the glaze, mix ingredients and drizzle over cake.

Recipe modified from “Lemon Streusel Coffeecake,” kingarthurflour.com

Anna Lookingbill

I'm a self-taught Betty Crocker. Food should be pretty, delicious and have sprinkles. Professionally I'm a clinical social worker. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest- Sugar and Spice Baking Blog- for great recipes, amazing restaurants and culinary adventures.

Super Lemon Coffee Cake
100334pecan-caramel-clusters-8 http://blogs.columbian.com/sugar-and-spice/2018/03/18/pecan-caramel-clusters/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/IMG_1403-1-1024x768-600x450.jpg

Pecan Caramel Clusters

Pecan Caramel Clusters don’t require any baking.  Quick and easy, these treats would be a perfect addition to Mother’s or Father’s Day brunch.  You can also substitute in your favorite nut mix.  A coworker has asked me to try making these with a pecan, cashew and pistachio combination.  Sounds even better, can’t wait to give it a spin.

Pecan Caramel Clusters

Makes 18 clusters



Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Break pecan halves into slightly smaller pieces, leaving big chunks.  Put in a large bowl.

Dump heavy cream and unwrapped caramels into a small sauce pan.  Heat over medium low until everything melts, stirring gently to combine.  Don’t be tempted to heat caramel too quickly, it can burn (I know from firsthand experience).

When caramel and cream have melted together, remove from heat.  Add vanilla and 1/4 t sea salt and mix completely.

Pour melted caramel over pecan pieces and use a spatula to stir until evenly coated.  Use a tablespoon to scoop out clumps, setting on prepared baking sheet.  Allow to cool, about 30 minutes.

When pecan clusters have set, transfer chocolate chips into a plastic bag.  Microwave in 15 second bursts until chocolate melts.  Snip the corner and drizzle pecan clusters.  Sprinkle with sea salt if using.

Store refrigerated.  Put parchment paper between layers if stacking, these get a bit sticky at room temperature.

Recipe modified from “Caramel Pecan Clusters,” mybakingaddition.com

Anna Lookingbill

I'm a self-taught Betty Crocker. Food should be pretty, delicious and have sprinkles. Professionally I'm a clinical social worker. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest- Sugar and Spice Baking Blog- for great recipes, amazing restaurants and culinary adventures.

Pecan Caramel Clusters
85400do-you-have-any-experiments-you-can-recommend https://blogs.columbian.com/blog/news/do-you-have-any-experiments-you-can-recommend/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Dr.-U-Hero-257x460.png

Dr. Universe: Do you have any experiments you can recommend? Thanks! -Etta, 7, Milwaukee

Dear Etta and Friends:

You can try all kinds of fun experiments at home. It really all depends on what you are curious about. Lately, I’ve seen some really great sunsets and started wondering what gives them their colors.

I decided to ask my friend Tom Johnson, who leads fun physics demonstrations for kids visiting Washington State University. I asked him if he had any simple ideas for an experiment I could try out in my lab, or even the kitchen. One idea he had was to create a sunset in a cup.

Maybe you can try it, too. You’ll need a flashlight, a transparent cup or two, water, and some milk. We cats have a reputation for liking milk. But it really isn’t so great for our digestion. So instead, I like to use it for science.

Once you’ve collected all your supplies, you’ll want to fill your glass about 2/3 of the way with water. Then, you’ll want to add milk until the liquid gets pretty cloudy. Be sure and stir it up well.

Turn on your flashlight and turn down any other lights in the room. Now you can shine the flashlight down into the water and look through the side of the glass. What color do you see?

This time, shine the flashlight through the side of the glass while looking at it from the opposite side. Any changes? Then hold your glass up off the table. Shine the flashlight up through the bottom of the glass and look down into the liquid. What colors can you see now? Perhaps the colors are looking more like those you’d see during a sunset.

Milk in the water scatters the light from the flashlight. It’s similar to the way different molecules and dust in our atmosphere scatter light from the sun.

Light travels from one end of the glass to the other and then up to your eyes. The further the light has to travel through the water, the more blue light gets scattered. That leaves more red light for your eyes to pick up.

Now that we’ve started to get an idea of how light scatters, runs into particles, and travels long distances, you can really get to experimenting.

What happens when you use less or more milk? Will you see any changes if you use a different kind of flashlight, like an LED? What kind of milk gives off more orange or reddish colors? Two percent? Whole milk?

Does the shape of the glass change anything? Why do you think that might be? Make a prediction and give it a try sometime. I’d love to hear more about your experiments and how your own sunset in a cup turns out. E-mail: Dr.Universe@wsu.edu.

Dr. Universe


The post Do you have any experiments you can recommend? appeared first on Ask Dr. Universe.

100338fudge-buckeye-cake-8 http://blogs.columbian.com/sugar-and-spice/2018/03/04/fudge-buckeye-cake/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/IMG_0849-1-1024x768-600x450.jpg

Fudge Buckeye Cake combines dense chocolate cake with sweet, squishy peanut butter filling.  A great option for Father’s Day, you can substitute 9 inch round cake pans for the fancy rectangular ones.  Buckeye is a reference to a super popular treat originating from the Midwest.

Fudge Buckeye Cake

Serves 12






Heat the oven to 350.  Grease and flour the baking pans.  Be sure not to miss any spots.  You will be making 4 layers, meaning you need enough time to bake in to batches.

To make the cake, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Add eggs, oil and vanilla.  Scrape sides if needed.  Gradually add water, beat until smooth.

Pour about 1/4 batter into each pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for 15 minutes then turn cakes out of the pans to cool on a rack.  Wash the pans and grease and flour again.  Fill with remaining batter and bake again.

To make the filling, use a stand mixer.  Combine peanut butter, powdered sugar and vanilla.  It will be crumbly.  Add milk in increments until smooth and spreadable.  It needs to be thick enough to hold its shape but soft enough to spread between the layers.

When the cake is completely cool, use a spatula to divide the peanut butter mixture into 3 even amounts.  Eyeball the 4 cake layers, if they have puffed up in the centers you may need to carefully trim with a serrated knife until it is mostly even.

Carefully set the first layer of cake on a platter.  Use an offset spatula to distribute a third of the peanut butter filling.  Start in the center and carefully push out to the edges.  Set on next layer of cake and repeat.  Leave the top later uncovered.

To make frosting, combine chocolate chips, heavy cream and corn syrup in a microwave safe bowl.  Decrease the power to 50% and carefully melt together using 30 second bursts.  You’ll need about 90 seconds.  Stir until smooth.

Spread along the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.  Store in the refrigerator until chocolate frosting sets.

Recipe modified from “Peanut Butter Fudge Buckeye Cake,” kingarthurflour.com

Fudge Buckeye Cake

Anna Lookingbill

I'm a self-taught Betty Crocker. Food should be pretty, delicious and have sprinkles. Professionally I'm a clinical social worker. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest- Sugar and Spice Baking Blog- for great recipes, amazing restaurants and culinary adventures.

Fudge Buckeye Cake
85035how-do-we-get-our-personality https://blogs.columbian.com/blog/news/how-do-we-get-our-personality/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Screen-Shot-2016-05-06-at-4.08.12-PM-349x460.png

Dr. Universe: How do we get our personality? – Jamie, 11

Dear Jamie,

Everyone is different. Maybe you are adventurous, shy, outgoing, funny, or kind. Before you were even born, your unique personality was beginning to take shape.

Part of the answer to your question is that some of your personality comes from your parents. Just as parents pass down physical traits like hair and eye color to their offspring, they can also give them different personality traits. They’re in your genes, the information passed throughout generations.

But your personality isn’t set in stone from the beginning. There are a few other things that go into it.

That’s what I found out from my friend Chris Barry, a psychologist at Washington State University. He studies personality in young people, including how people express themselves on social media. He was really excited to hear about your question.

Even as little babies, people start to express their own personalities, he said. Maybe you were a really fussy infant. Maybe you laughed or smiled a lot. As you grew up and learned how to communicate, your personality started to grow, too.

You’ve had a lot of different life experiences and those play into your personality, too. Barry reminded me that humans are social animals. He explained that as the brain develops, you become much more aware of the world around you.

For example, when you were little, you could run around with spaghetti all over your face and no one would think much about it. But now that you are an 11-year-old, running around with spaghetti on your face could be a little embarrassing.

Perhaps your family and friends would suggest you find a napkin. Barry explained that as you get older you are not only more aware of different social situations, but also your own personality.

Humans are often looking for information from other humans to figure out how to navigate the world. Meanwhile, an almond-shaped brain structure called the amygdala is especially helpful as you figure out these new situations and emotions.

You may notice that your family, friends, or others may react to the way you behave. You might learn to change your behavior depending on their reactions. While everyone has their own personality, in a way, other people are helping shape it, too.

Humans have all kinds of words to describe each other’s personality traits. In fact, some researchers have come up with a list of more than 600 characteristics.

Barry explained that we still have a lot of unanswered questions to explore when it comes to understanding personality. He said that while your personality develops a lot as you grow from a baby into a kid, it probably won’t change too much once you become a grown-up.

Based on your question, it appears that you are very curious. That can be a great personality trait. Have you ever thought about become a scientist or researcher one day? Keep asking great questions and you’ll be well on your way.

Dr. Universe

The post How do we get our personality? appeared first on Ask Dr. Universe.

84815why-do-cows-moo https://blogs.columbian.com/blog/news/why-do-cows-moo/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Dr.-U-Hero-257x460.png

Why do cows moo? -Sam, 11, Gahanna, Ohio

Dear Sam,

If you’ve ever been near a herd of mooing cows, it might have sounded like all their moos were the same. But just as each person’s voice is a little different, so is each cow’s moo.

Human ears might not always pick up the small differences in moos, but cow ears sure can. In fact, cows have great hearing. They can even tell that different moos mean different things.

That’s what I found out from my friend Amber Adams-Progar, an animal scientist at Washington State University who studies cow behavior. She learns a lot about how we can better care for cows and spends time visiting our herd out at the Knott Dairy Center in Pullman, Wash.

Adams-Progar explained that before humans domesticated cows and started raising them on farms, these animals lived in the wild. In nature, mother cows go off on their own to find a spot to have their baby.

Sound is a big part of how a mother and baby cow bond. While a calf might send out one kind of moo when she is hungry, another moo might mean she’s lost.

“Sometimes a calf will go running off and the mom will look around. All of a sudden you hear her moo and then somewhere in the distance you hear a little moo respond back,” Adams-Progar said. “It’s kind of cute.”

Some cows will also moo when they are looking to find a mate. Finding other cows in the herd is part of why these animals moo, but there are other reasons, too.

In the wild, cows are prey animals. Sometimes mooing attracts predators, but sometimes cows can also use their moos to help keep each other safe. They can use their moos and their great sense of hearing to let other cows in the herd know there might be danger afoot.

While mooing can help cows find and protect one another, they also use other kinds of behaviors to communicate. Sometimes cows will grunt. Usually when we see cows grunting, they are pretty content, like when they are eating. They may also use their grunts when they are defending themselves or letting other cows know about their rank in the herd.

A wag of their tail can also help communicate to animals around them. When its tail is between its legs, the animal may be cold. A wagging tail could also mean it is in pain or just irritated. Cows also use their tails to swat away flies and sometimes calves wag their tails when they are nursing.

It’s a great question you ask, Sam. Maybe the next time you pass a herd of mooing cows you can think about all the different communication that is going on out there in the pasture.

In fact, your question leaves me with even more questions about animal communication. Why does a bat screech? A bee buzz? Or an elephant trumpet? What is your favorite animal? What sounds does it make to communicate? Tell me about it sometime at Dr.Universe@wsu.edu.

Dr. Universe

The post Why do cows moo? appeared first on Ask Dr. Universe.

100344simple-spice-cake-8 http://blogs.columbian.com/sugar-and-spice/2018/02/18/simple-spice-cake/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/IMG_0784-1-1024x768-600x450.jpg

Simple Spice Cake

Simple Spice Cake is a throwback recipe to less complicated time.  It’s easy to get caught up in the super complicated gourmet recipes people seem to favor these days, I like to things my grandma would have made 70 years ago.  Feel free to add raisins and pecans if you love them, only about a cup total before baking.

Simple Spice Cake

Makes 24 cupcakes



Heat oven to 350.  Line muffin pan with cupcake wrappers.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg and allspice.  Set aside.

Use a hand mixer to combine butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time.  Measure out buttermilk.

Add some of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar with about half of the buttermilk.  Mix gently.  Add the rest of the flour and buttermilk.  Scrape sides if needed.

Transfer to prepared cupcake pan, filling 3/4 full.

Bake for 22-25 minutes until cupcakes are lightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely and frost with white chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Garnish with fresh nutmeg.

Recipe modified from “Old Fashioned Spice Cake,” geniuskitchen.com

Anna Lookingbill

I'm a self-taught Betty Crocker. Food should be pretty, delicious and have sprinkles. Professionally I'm a clinical social worker. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest- Sugar and Spice Baking Blog- for great recipes, amazing restaurants and culinary adventures.

Simple Spice Cake
84567can-video-games-help-us-learn https://blogs.columbian.com/blog/news/can-video-games-help-us-learn/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Dr.-U-Hero-257x460.png

Can video games help us learn? – Isaac, 12, Clyde, N.Y.

Dear Issac,

All kinds of games can help us learn, including some video games. They can be a fun and useful way to help you remember what you learn, too.

Our brains work hard each day to take in and process information. Ever since video games were invented, people have been asking if and how they might change our behavior and brains.

For example, people once thought that video games left players with poor eye-sight and poor attention. Some scientists decided to actually test out these ideas. Their studies have shown that some video game players actually have better attention than non-players. Other studies have shown how some video game players also have sharper vision.

When it comes to learning new things, being able to focus and quickly process visual information can be helpful. But those aren’t the only things that help with learning.

That’s what I found out from my friend and Washington State University education researcher Raed Alsawaier. He studies how different elements of games can help us learn in our classrooms or other settings outside of the virtual, video game world.

“Almost all of us grow up learning through playing,” he said.

Just think back on a time when you played a game with friends. Maybe you worked with as a team. Maybe you used some creativity and imagination to face a challenge or solve a problem.

It appears that there are two elements to video games, in particular, that can really help us learn, Alsawaier said. One of these elements is collaboration. Learning through video games often happens when you are working with others to reach a goal. This can happen in the game or outside the game.

For example, some games like Minecraft help kids learn to read and write. But the game itself doesn’t actually require you to read or write. The game also doesn’t come with a lot of instructions. Players read other people’s experiences online and write about their own.

The other element of learning through video games is, well, fun. When playing video games, people use a lot of their senses during the experience; sight to watch the screen, hearing to listen to their fellow players, and touch when using the controller.

Our senses and experiences are also tied closely to our memory, Alsawaier explains. Not only can video games give us skills that help us learn, but there’s evidence that they can help us remember what we learn, too.

We still have a lot to learn about different video games and how they affect us, but we can say, at least in part, that the answer to your question is yes.

Now that you know about few elements in video games that can help us learn, what kind of video game would you design? Tell me about it sometime at Dr.Universe@wsu.edu.

Dr. Universe

The post Can video games help us learn? appeared first on Ask Dr. Universe.

100348creamy-coconut-cheesecake-8 http://blogs.columbian.com/sugar-and-spice/2018/02/11/creamy-coconut-cheesecake/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/IMG_0793-1-1024x768-600x450.jpg

Confession time.  We made 3 of these in a week.   Although we only ate 1 at home, the other 2 went into work because the office had a cheesecake emergency and everyone HAD to have a slice.

Be sure to find coconut milk powder ahead of time, I ordered from Amazon Prime and it was $7 for a 5.5 oz bag.  This was enough for 3 cheesecakes.  Coconut milk powder is also available at specialty health food stores.

Creamy Coconut Cheesecake






Heat oven to 350.  Use a food processor to turn graham crackers into crumbs.

Mix graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, shredded coconut, salt and butter with a fork.  Dump into a pie pan.  Use the flat bottom of a measuring cup to gently press down the crust, starting in the center and moving out to the edges.  Leave the edges a bit rough, it will look pretty when it bakes.

Use a hand mixer to blend cream cheese and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add coconut milk powder and coconut extract.

Scoop into prepared crust, smoothing with a spatula.

Bake for 30 minutes total, 20 minutes uncovered and 10 minutes with a pie crust shield.  If you don’t have a crust shield, you can gently wrap a few pieces of aluminum foil on the edges.

You can tell when the cheesecake is done because it will start to puff slightly around the edges.

To make the topping, put shredded coconut on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 5-8 minutes until golden brown.  Sprinkle on top of cheesecake.

Allow to cool before serving.  Keep refrigerated.

Recipe modified from “Easy Coconut Cheesecake,” King Arthur Flour

Creamy Coconut Cheesecake

Anna Lookingbill

I'm a self-taught Betty Crocker. Food should be pretty, delicious and have sprinkles. Professionally I'm a clinical social worker. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest- Sugar and Spice Baking Blog- for great recipes, amazing restaurants and culinary adventures.

Creamy Coconut Cheesecake
84425strawberry-buttermilk-baked-doughnuts http://blogs.columbian.com/sugar-and-spice/2018/02/04/strawberry-buttermilk-baked-doughnuts/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IMG_0815-1-1024x768-600x450.jpg

Spring is  around the corner.  From an errant daffodil in our front yard to needing only one coat to walk the dog in the evening, better days are definitely on the way.

Strawberry Buttermilk Baked Doughnuts use real fruit in both the cake and the glaze, making for a bright and tasty treat.

Strawberry Buttermilk Baked Doughnuts

Makes 24 regular size



Strawberry Glaze

Vanilla Drizzle


Heat the oven to 425.  Lightly spray a doughnut pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix flour, wheat flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine melted, cooled butter, oil and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

Measure out buttermilk.

Pour about a third of the flour mixture into mixture and stir gently.  Add half the buttermilk and stir some more.   Add the next third of the flour, half the buttermilk and finish with the flour.  The key is to combine the ingredients gently but to make sure everything comes together.  Mixture will be thick.  Fold in strawberries.

Transfer to a plastic bag and snip the corner.  Pipe into prepared doughnut pans filling 2/3 full.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the doughnuts are pale gold and spring back when touched with a fingertip.  Remove and cool.

To prepare strawberry glaze, put strawberries in a small sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until mixture thickens.  Use a mesh sieve to strain out chunks.  Mix strawberry concentrate with powdered sugar and red food coloring if using.  Glaze will be thick but spreadable, add a small amount of milk if needed.

To make vanilla drizzle, combine all ingredients.  Transfer to a plastic bag and make a very small cut in the corner.

Dip cooled doughnuts into strawberry glaze and set on wax paper.  If your glaze is thin you may need to dip them twice.  Add vanilla drizzle.  Allow glaze to set.  Because you used real fruit, the glaze may be stickier than glazes with artificial flavors.  Share with friends.

Recipe modified from “Strawberry Cake Donuts,” bakedbyanintrovert.com

Anna Lookingbill

I'm a self-taught Betty Crocker. Food should be pretty, delicious and have sprinkles. Professionally I'm a clinical social worker. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest- Sugar and Spice Baking Blog- for great recipes, amazing restaurants and culinary adventures.

Strawberry Buttermilk Baked Doughnuts
84409why-does-hair-turn-gray https://blogs.columbian.com/blog/news/why-does-hair-turn-gray/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Final-Dr.-U.-Gray-Hair-2-1-600x354.jpg
Dr. Universe examines a gray hair.

Dear Dr. Universe: Why does hair turn gray? –Darae, 10

Dear Darae,

Hair comes in lots of different colors. There’s black, medium brown, auburn, light brown, strawberry blonde, and copper, to name just a few. But in the end, almost everyone will have hair that’s gray or white.

Ever since you were born, different cells have been working on your hair. Each hair sprouts from a follicle, a sort of little hair-making factory under your skin. Here, some of your cells are making your hair and others are coloring it.

The cells that color your hair are called melanocytes. They produce a pigment, or natural coloring matter, called melanin. This is the same pigment that gives your eyes and skin their color, too.

I decided to visit my friend Cynthia Cooper, a biologist and researcher at Washington State University, for help answering your question.

A close-up look at cells 

Cooper and the other scientists in her Vancouver, Wash., lab are really curious about cells. They are investigating questions about how some cells end up becoming the kind that produce skin pigment.

As people get older, she said, the pigment-producing cells in their hair follicles gradually die. They can no longer make enough pigment to keep coloring their hair.

If we took out all the pigment from your hair, it would be totally white.  So when melanocytes stop producing melanin altogether, your hair turns white.

“Why hair follicle melanocytes die over time, and are not replaced, we don’t entirely know,” Cooper said. “Our skin doesn’t turn gray, so the biology is quite different,” she adds.

While Cooper works on pigment in skin, she said some scientists are also working on other big questions about the pigment in hair, too. These scientists are especially curious about the inner-workings of the cells and how gray hair is part of people’s DNA.

Perhaps, you’ve heard someone say their kids are giving them gray hair. But scientifically, if anyone is giving someone gray hair, it’s likely their own parents. Those that come before us pass down their hair color to us through the genes we inherit from them. It’s the same with graying hair.

Scientists have even pinpointed specific genes and parts of cells that are involved in growing gray hair. The new knowledge is helping us put together a better picture of how pigment works. Still, there’s a lot more to discover.

Maybe as you get older and find that first gray hair, you’ll remember some of the science that’s at the root of it all. If you have a cat or dog, maybe you’ll notice that they’ll go gray around their muzzles, too.

I’ve actually had gray and white hair ever since I was a kitten. I think it’s pretty great. Our pigment, or lack of it, help make us all unique.

Dr. Universe

The post Why does hair turn gray? appeared first on Ask Dr. Universe.

84016why-do-we-get-fevers https://blogs.columbian.com/blog/news/why-do-we-get-fevers/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Dr.-U-Hero-257x460.png

Dr. Universe: Why do we get a fever when we are sick? – Marcelina, 11, Ovid, N.Y.

Dear Marcelina,

Lots of warm-blooded animals get sick, including cats. I’ve had a fever before, but I wasn’t entirely sure why we warm up when we get sick. I decided to ask my friend and professor Phil Mixter at Washington State University.

Mixter is curious about the germs, or microbes, that we all carry around with us. In fact, scientists estimate that humans carry more than 100 trillion of these tiny microbes with them wherever they go. Not all of these microbes are bad, but some of them can make you sick.

Thankfully, a lot of animals—from starfish to cats to humans—also have an immune system that helps them fight off bad germs. In humans, fevers are one way your body helps fight back.

It’s sort of like that story about Goldilocks and the three bears, Mixter said. In the middle of your brain is a control center, the hypothalamus, which helps your body know if it’s too hot, too cold, or just right.

Maybe the last time you went in for a check-up the doctor took your temperature and told you it was somewhere around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit—or 37 degrees Centigrade for readers outside the United States. That’s a pretty normal temperature for humans.

Cats run a little warmer, with temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. As we go about our day, sometimes our body temperatures will rise or fall just a little. But if germs come on the scene, things can really heat up.

When your immune system realizes something unusual is going on, some of your white blood cells will release a substance into your blood stream. The substance is made up chemicals that your brain can detect. When the hypothalamus receives the chemical message, it sends an alert back out to the body: Turn up the heat! We’ve got to slow down these germs.

Many microbes that make us sick do best in an environment that is about 98.6 degrees F. The temperature is just right. When we get a fever, the heat helps slow down these troublemakers. You might feel sweaty and hot on the outside, but the microbes are also getting too hot. The heat helps keep them from multiplying rapidly.

One thing a fever can’t really tell us is what kinds of germs are in our system. Sometimes there might be something else going on and we might need to visit with a doctor.

A fever may not make us feel great, but it’s usually a good sign that our body’s immune system has kicked into gear and that we’ll get better real soon.

Dr. Universe

The post Why do we get fevers? appeared first on Ask Dr. Universe.

83974how-does-a-string-of-lights-work https://blogs.columbian.com/blog/news/how-does-a-string-of-lights-work/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Dr.-U-Hero-257x460.png

Dear Dr. Universe: How does a light bulb work? When one bulb in a string of lights goes out, why do they all go out? – Molly, 8

Dear Molly,

Just the other day I was taking down a string of lights from my lab, when I discovered the bulbs were burnt out. I visited my friend Aaron Crandall, an engineer at Washington State University, to see if I might get them working again.

Crandall explained when you plug in a string of lights to a power source, like an outlet, an electrical charge flows into the wires. A lightbulb works when an electrical current runs through thin metal wires in the bulb and electrical energy gets converted to heat and light. We can get this current of electricity to follow different paths, depending on how we wire up the lights.

When the electricity reaches the first bulb in a string of lights, it flows up a tiny vertical wire inside the bulb. Here, it crosses a tinier horizontal wire, which acts kind of like a bridge, for the electrical current. The current follows another tiny vertical wire down and out the bulb. The current moves on, powering up the other lights, until it gets back to the power source. It’s all part of a looped pathway.

My string of lights is on one long path, or circuit— if one of the lightbulbs goes out, they all go out. Usually this happens when the tiny wire bridge that connects those two vertical wires inside the bulb melts or breaks.

Crandall said in some sets of lights you can gently shake the bulb to try and get the tiny horizontal wire to reattach to the vertical ones. I attempted this with my broken lights, but didn’t have much luck. I decided to pick up a new set of lights. This newer set has individual loops, or circuits, for each light. It also requires more wire to work.

You might think of this type of circuit like the monkey bars on a playground. Imagine the view from the top. There are two parallel bars that connect to rungs (the part you swing from). Let’s say you and a few friends are lightbulbs. You each hang from your own rung.

A circuit called a series circuit would be kind of like if you and your friends (the lightbulbs) were all holding hands and the current was flowing down the line. If one friend left, it would break the connection.

But on the monkey bars you aren’t holding hands. You have your own connection (rung) to the lines the electricity is flowing along (the parallel bars). In this kind of design, each light or a series of lights has its own loop, or circuit. If one route along the electrical pathway is not working or blocked, the rest of the bulbs can still light up.

I’ll put up my new lights next year, but I think I’ll break apart my old set of lights to do some experiments with circuits. With some help from an adult, you can check out how to make your very own circuit with old holiday lights. Tell me how it goes sometime at Dr.Universe@wsu.edu.


Dr. Universe


The post How does a string of lights work? appeared first on Ask Dr. Universe.

83576white-chocolate-raspberry-cupcakes-with-white-chocolate-cream-cheese-frosting http://blogs.columbian.com/sugar-and-spice/2018/01/16/white-chocolate-raspberry-cupcakes-with-white-chocolate-cream-cheese-frosting/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/01/IMG_0698-1-1024x768-600x450.jpg

While chocolate is not technically chocolate.  It has cocoa butter, sugar and milk but no cocoa solids (aka cocoa powder).  Feel free to share this bit of knowledge to annoy your friends… I definitely have.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting don’t need cocoa solids.  Clocking in with a whopping 3 white chocolate baking bars in just 12 cupcakes, these are totally decadent.  I added raspberry filling to as a nod to Valentine’s Day.

Because these are for a friend who works as a corrections deputy, a handful are garnished with a chocolate handgun, similar to his duty weapon.  Corrections deputies and their families are unsung heroes of public service, providing safety 24/7 to our community with little acknowledgement of their sacrifices.  This means my friend gets as many cupcakes as he wants (and not just on his birthday).

White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 12 cupcakes


White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting


To make cupcakes, heat oven to 350.  Line baking pan with muffin wrappers.

Carefully melt white chocolate in the microwave.  I drop the power to 50% and check it at 30 second intervals.  This usually takes about 2 minutes.  Lowering the heat allows the chocolate to melt but not scorch, chocolate can seize up or become grainy.  Other melting options include a double boiler.  When chocolate is melted, set aside to cool until tepid.

Mix together flour, baking powder and salt.  Measure out buttermilk.  Set aside.

Use a stand mixer to cream butter and sugar for 2 minutes or until fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs, scraping sides.  Pour in cooled, melted white chocolate.

Switch the mixer to low and add part of the flour mixture and half the buttermilk.  When just combined, add the rest of the flour and buttermilk.

Scoop batter into prepared pan, about 2/3 full.  Bake for 20 minutes total, 10 minutes on a lower rack and 10 minutes on upper racks until cupcakes are lightly golden.  Cool completely.

When cupcakes are cool, use a sharp knife to make a small hole in the center of each one.  Transfer raspberry jam to a plastic bag and snip the corner.  Pipe jam into cupcake.

To make frosting, repeat melting technique for white chocolate.  Set aside to cool until tepid.  Use a stand mixer to combine butter and cream cheese.  Add vanilla.  Add powdered sugar in increments.  Add melted white chocolate.  Frosting will be soft but should keep shape.  If it seems squishy, add powdered sugar in 1/2 C increments until it reaches desired consistency.

Pipe on cupcakes and garnish with fresh raspberries.

Recipe modified from “White Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe,” leitesculinaria.com

Anna Lookingbill

I'm a self-taught Betty Crocker. Food should be pretty, delicious and have sprinkles. Professionally I'm a clinical social worker. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest- Sugar and Spice Baking Blog- for great recipes, amazing restaurants and culinary adventures.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
83888why-do-some-animals-live-in-groups-2 https://blogs.columbian.com/blog/news/why-do-some-animals-live-in-groups-2/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/01/dr-universe-bees-600x399.jpg


Dr. Universe: Why do some animals live in groups?

– Mrs. Rubert’s students, Foothill Knolls STEM Academy of Innovation, Upland, Calif.

Dear Mrs. Rubert and Students,

Fish swim in big schools. Baby ducks waddle in a straight line. Ants and bees divide up labor. The world is full of animals that live in groups and they do it for a few different reasons.

For one, living in groups helps some animals avoid getting eaten by predators. Some even join forces to take down prey bigger than them with less risk and effort. Working together can also help them find more food. Ravens and rats, for example, will return from a hunt and let the rest of the group know where to find their next meal.

Being part of a big group is also helpful when it comes to caring for young animals. Sperm whales, warthogs, and some fish will care for young that are not their own. In the future, others in their group will return the favor. That’s what I found out from my friend Charlotte Milling, a researcher at The Ohio State University who studied wildlife sciences at Washington State University.

While there are advantages to living in a group, Milling said, there are also down sides. Sometimes a group gets so big it attracts the attention of predators. When food is scarce, having so many mouths to feed can make it harder to find food for everyone, too.

If there aren’t enough resources or the animals start getting really sick, it can be hard for other animals in the group to survive. Milling explained that while there are benefits to living in groups, it only works if the benefits to an animal are bigger than the costs in the long run.

Believe it or not, finding out how animals work in groups can also help us engineer and design new technology, like self-driving cars. My friend Kshitij Jerath is an engineer at Washington State University. He studies how individual things make up groups and looks for big patterns to help us solve problems. He used a flock of birds as an example.

Jerath explained that we can use math to calculate information about how a bird flies with its flock. How many neighbors does a bird have and how many can it see? How far away are these neighbors? How fast does it need to fly to stay with the group?

Using a similar idea, Jerath’s research helps us learn more about swarms of drones and self-driving cars. A single self-driving car can move on its own but it has to interact with lots of cars on the road, too. Using math and engineering, Jerath is working to help us understand how self-driving cars can better avoid accidents or prevent big traffic jams.

We still have a lot of unanswered questions about groups and systems in our world. Whether you’re looking at a pack, a pod, a school, or a flock, maybe one day you can help us learn more about animals and why they live in groups. Who knows? Learning from nature might even inspire you to come up with new ideas and inventions.

Dr. Universe

The post Why do some animals live in groups? appeared first on Ask Dr. Universe.

83890glass-how-is-it-made-2 https://blogs.columbian.com/blog/news/glass-how-is-it-made-2/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Dr.-U-Hero-257x460.png

Dr. Universe: How is glass made? And, what is it made out of? What about thick glass like they are putting up on the Space Needle? – Tali, almost 8 years old, Seattle, Wash.

Dear Tali,

We can make glass in factories and we can find it in nature. Some volcanoes make glass. When they spew out lava, it often cools into obsidian, a black glass. Glass can also form on sandy beaches. Small tubes with smooth glass on the inside may appear after super-hot lightning strikes the sand.

In fact, sand is one of the most important ingredients we use to make glass. We may also use things like seashells, salt, and other chemicals. That’s what I found out when I visited my friend John McCloy, an engineer at Washington State University. McCloy and graduate student Jose Marcial were testing out different materials to make glass in the lab.

smiling cat in a lab coat

Marcial explained that glass is made of molecules—think of them as building blocks—arranged in a pretty random order. Most of the time we think of glass as a solid. But the way its molecules are arranged actually allows it to act as both a solid and a liquid. When we heat up the mix of sand, seashells, salt, and other chemicals, it can become molten, kind of like lava.

In the lab, Marcial poured a mixture of solid materials into a tiny metal cup. He heated it way up until the mix turned to something in-between a solid and liquid, similar to a thick honey. It was so hot that as Marcial poured it out onto a table, the molten material started glowing orange. As the mix cooled down, the molten liquid turned to a solid piece of glass right before our very eyes.

Marcial said that in factories, glass is made in a similar way. We take sand, add in different chemicals, heat it up, and pour it out onto a bed of molten metal. Just as oil sits on top of water, the lighter, liquid-like glass material floats atop the metal.

As everything cools down, the metal stays molten, but the glass on top solidifies. The glass might end up in a pair of eyeglasses, a computer screen, fish tank, or window. The big pieces of glass you see in buildings or observation decks are often made up of thinner layers of glass that have been combined.

As you’ve observed, the Space Needle is getting a big renovation. According to friends at the Space Needle, more than 10 types of glass will be used to renovate the landmark. They will also bring in 176 tons of glass during construction—that’s more than twice the weight of a NASA space shuttle.

As you can see, glass is made in lots of different ways. Believe it or not, you can also make something very similar to glass in your kitchen. Instead of grains of sand, salt, and seashells, you can use tiny grains of sugar.

With the help of a grown-up you can make your own edible sugar glass by mixing together ingredients like sugar, corn syrup, water, and cream of tartar. Try it out sometime and let me know what you learn at Dr.Universe@wsu.edu.

Dr. Universe

The post Glass: How is it made? appeared first on Ask Dr. Universe.

83505yellow-snack-cakes-with-vanilla-cream-filling http://blogs.columbian.com/sugar-and-spice/2018/01/09/yellow-snack-cakes-with-vanilla-cream-filling/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/01/IMG_0607-1-1024x768-600x450.jpg

I got a Twinkie pan for Christmas!  Technically, it’s a “cream canoe pan,” although I have no idea what cream canoes are exactly.  This recipe can be made as cupcakes but it’s much more fun to create Twinkie look-alike treats.  Be sure to read about whipping egg whites if you’re new to the kitchen, stiff peaks are the key to the fluffy, spongy cake.

Yellow Snack Cakes with Vanilla Cream Filling

Yellow Snack Cakes with Vanilla Cream Filling

Makes 24 cakes


Yellow Snack Cakes

*It’s worth ordering Princess Flavoring.  It makes the cake taste almost the same as Twinkies and it’s great for other treats.

Vanilla Cream Filling


Heat the oven to 350.  Lightly coat the cream canoe pan with non stick spray.

Use a stand mixer with a very clean bowl to whip egg whites.  Add cream of tartar to help stabilize.  Whip in to stiff peaks.  Set aside.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, vegetable oil, cold water, egg yolks and Princess Flavoring.  Use a whisk and blend until smooth.  Try not to over mix.

Gently stir about a third of the stiff egg whites into the cake batter.  Use a spatula to mix gently.  You don’t want to crush the air you have added to the recipe.  Continue adding egg whites.

Fill the wells of the cream canoe pan 2/3 full.  Cakes will puff up while baking but shrink back down as they cool.

Bake for 8-12 minutes until lightly golden brown.  Cool for about 5 minutes and use a spatula to gently loosen cakes.  Invert on to a cooling rack.

Wipe out any remaining crumbs or cake and lightly spray again.  Repeat until all cakes are baked.

While cakes are baking and cooling, make the vanilla cream filling.

In a saucepan, cook together flour and milk over medium heat.  Mixture will thicken and form a paste.  Be careful not to boil or the mixture may burn.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Press plastic wrap on the surface and set aside to cool.

When the paste is completely cool, use a stand mixer to combine flour paste with butter, shortening and sugar.  You will need to beat for at least 5 minutes on medium high-speed, the mixture will become smooth and creamy.  Load into a piping bag or the piping syringe that comes with the cream canoe pan.

Flip a cooled snack cake upside down.  Gently inject vanilla cream filling in three different spots.  Start slowly, you will be able to feel the cake expand in your hand as you inject filling inside.  It doesn’t take too much, perhaps about a teaspoon per injection.  If you go too quickly, the cake will crack and burst in your hand.  Continue until all cakes are filled.

Wrap cakes individually and tightly in plastic wrap.  Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.  Unlike real Twinkies, Yellow Snack Cakes with Vanilla Cream Filling do not contain a million preservatives that allow them to survive a nuclear winter.

Recipe modified from “Twinkling Good Vanilla Snack Cakes,” kingarthurflour.com

Yellow Snack Cakes with Vanilla Cream Filling

Anna Lookingbill

I'm a self-taught Betty Crocker. Food should be pretty, delicious and have sprinkles. Professionally I'm a clinical social worker. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest- Sugar and Spice Baking Blog- for great recipes, amazing restaurants and culinary adventures.

Yellow Snack Cakes with Vanilla Cream Filling
83892do-all-animals-pass-gas-do-cats-fart-2 https://blogs.columbian.com/blog/news/do-all-animals-pass-gas-do-cats-fart-2/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Dr.-U-Hero-257x460.png

Dr. Universe: Do all animals pass gas? Do cats fart?

Hasandi, 11, Jeddah; Harrison, 10, Albany, Ore.

Dear Hasandi and Harrison,

If you’ve ever been near a cat or dog when they tooted, the smell might have sent you running right out of the room. A lot of animals pass gas. But believe it or not, some animals do not.

First, let’s talk about the gassy ones. When us cats and humans eat food, we are also swallowing air, or gas. It’s made up of elements like nitrogen and oxygen. The gas travels down into our digestive system and can take up space in our stomach and intestines. In our digestive systems, we also find tiny living things called bacteria.

You might blame the dog for your farts, but the real credit goes to your bacteria. Not all bacteria are bad. In fact, a lot of bacteria are helpful. Some of them help break down your food into its simplest form, like proteins and sugars that you can use for energy and growing. Some get rid of waste. But as they do their different jobs, they produce a bit of gas.

That’s what I found out from my friend Kristen Johnson. She’s a researcher at Washington State University who has tackled some big questions about how cow gas impacts the environment. She explained that while each bacterium makes a small amount of gas, there are millions of them doing it. It really adds up.

This gas needs to leave your body somehow, so you can release it either as a burp, a fart or by breathing. But if you were a clam or other mollusk, you wouldn’t toot. If you were a sea anemone, you wouldn’t fart, but you could probably burp.

Last year, a bunch of researchers listed which animals they studied farted. According to their list, it appears that some worms don’t pass gas either. Then there are some animals that scientists aren’t sure about, like spiders and parakeets. One researcher even found that some millipedes have hard valves on their rear ends that silence their toots. It would be nice if some other animals I know had those.

Birds have the equipment to fart but apparently don’t. Some scientists have found that a lot of them don’t usually carry the same kinds of gas-forming bacteria in their guts that humans and other mammals do.

As it is, humans toot around 20 times a day, producing enough gas to fill up about half a two-liter bottle of soda. A lot of the time these farts don’t smell. But sometimes your bacteria release sulfur and other things that can get pretty stinky. It might not always be pleasant, but it’s totally normal. Silent or deadly, a fart is usually a sign that our bodies are healthy.

Dr. Universe

The post Do all animals pass gas? Do cats fart? appeared first on Ask Dr. Universe.

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Lemon Cheesecake Bites are perfect miniature treats.  With a lemony crust, sweet cheesecake filling and tart lemon topping, these little beauties will impress anyone.  Need extras?  (Hint… you’ll need extras).  The recipe doubles easily.

Lemon Cheesecake Bites

Makes 24 miniature cupcakes




Lemon topping


Make the crust ahead of time.  Use a mixer to combine cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add flour.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 325.  Line mini muffin pans with cupcake wrappers or coat with nonstick cooking spray.

Use a small cookie scoop to make 1 inch balls.  Set into pan and use fingers to squish to fit OR use a shot glass rolled in sugar (I found narrow ones at a grocery store… super useful).  You want to make crust-like shapes.

To make filling, use a mixer to combine cream cheese and sugar.  Add lemon juice, vanilla and egg.  Scoop into prepared crusts, filling 3/4 full.  I used a teaspoon sized measuring spoon and it worked pretty well.

Bake 18-22 minutes.  You will see the crust becoming lightly golden on the edges and the cheesecake mixture inside will puff up.  Don’t worry, it will settle when it cools.

Remove from the oven and cool about 5 minutes.  Carefully run a thin knife around the edges and remove.  Set aside and cool completely.

While cheesecakes are cooling, make lemon topping.  Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a small sauce pan.  Add water, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.  Boil for 1 minute, mixture will become very thick.  Remove from heat.  Add yellow food coloring (if using) and 2 T butter.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Transfer lemon topping to a plastic bag and snip the corner.  Pipe on cheesecakes, leaving the crust and a teeny bit of the filling showing.  Garnish with fresh fruit.  Keep refrigerated until serving.

Recipe modified from “Miniature Lemon Cheesecake Tarts,” tasteofhome.com

Lemon Cheesecake Bites

Anna Lookingbill

I'm a self-taught Betty Crocker. Food should be pretty, delicious and have sprinkles. Professionally I'm a clinical social worker. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest- Sugar and Spice Baking Blog- for great recipes, amazing restaurants and culinary adventures.

Lemon Cheesecake Bites
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Outfit of the Week: Taxi Outfit of the Week: Taxi

Does it look like I’m hailing a cab? Check out these sweet taxi mittens that my cousin sent me that pair nicely with my dark, neutral outfit. They look like they would be perfect for New York City, which is exactly why she sent them to me. 

I’m moving to the Big Apple! Which means that this is my last Everyday Style post. I know this column has been a bit short-lived, but it’s been a blast. I’m so thankful to The Columbian for giving me the space and resources to share my opinions about fashion. I’ve always dreamed of having a style blog but never had the means to, so being able to create one for such a great platform has been amazing. 

For this week’s outfit, I’m wearing my trusty winter coat from GAP, a cozy turtleneck that I’ve had for ages from Forever 21, and Anne Klein earrings. My taxi mittens are from Kate Spade. 

If you would like to follow along with my adventures in NYC, you can find my instagram at instagram.com/marielabbene. If you would like to contact me after my departure from The Columbian, you can email me at mariel.abbene@gmail.com.

Cheers my friends, and thanks for reading! 

Photos by Ariane Kunze.

Mariel Abbene

Mariel Abbene is a designer and illustrator at The Columbian. Once a fashion merchandising major in college, she is obsessed with clothes and putting together comfortable yet stylish outfits. You can reach her at mariel.abbene@columbian.com

Outfit of the Week: Taxi
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Streamline your style by color-coordinating your closetIf you peek into my closet, you’ll see my clothes all fall into a limited color palette. Everything looks like it goes together, and that isn’t an accident. 

For several years now, I’ve done my best to visually streamline my closet. Not only does it make it look neat and tidy when I slide my door aside to pick out an outfit; creating a cohesive color scheme has a lot of other benefits.

First of all, it expands your options if most of your clothing items don’t clash. It also allows you to purchase more interesting pieces. Patterns, metallics and other fun details become a lot more wearable if you have the right colors to pair them with. Traveling is also simpler because you’ll be able mix, match and rewear a few items that all go together. 

I would also go out on a limb to say that having a color cohesive wardrobe can reduce impulse purchases. Knowing what colors you like, what hues look good on you, and what shades will match with your current clothing items can steer you away from that crazy fluorescent pink miniskirt that is destined to hang in the back of your closet with the tags still on. Once you discover your preferences, you’re more likely to stick to them.

The method

Now the question is: What’s the best way to get to this point without shelling out lots of money? 

The most important thing to remember if you’re aiming to streamline your closet colors is to be aware that it will happen over time, not immediately. There’s no need to spend your whole paycheck or throw out large portions of your current wardrobe. It took me several months of (normal levels) of shopping before I started to notice cohesiveness emerging in the items I purchased. 

The first step is to take a look at your current clothing. Are there any pieces you own that don’t look good on you? If yellow makes you look sallow or purple just isn’t your thing, get rid of it. My philosophy is that there’s no reason to keep clothing you don’t like unless you need it for utility or professional purposes.  

Secondly, the next time you shop, start building up a base of neutral colored pieces. When I was a teenager, I thought neutrals were boring. Now, I love them for their flexibility. If you’re someone who starts snoring at the thought of black or beige, think of neutrals as a way to try out different shapes, materials and details. For example, a black shirt with bell sleeves and a ruffled collar is far from dull. In addition to navy, black, gray, brown and white, also consider what I call secondary neutrals, which include colors like olive, camel, and cream. They are versatile and are great if you fancy warmer hues. 

Next, based off your personal preferences and what is already in your closet, determine what non-neutral colors you like to wear. Personally, I tend to favor toned-down primary colors, and gravitate toward red, blue, yellow and green. However, if you’re like my mom, who likes jewel tones, your closet might be filled with violet, emerald and turquoise. I would choose around three or four colors, each of which look good with your complexion and make you feel great. 

Lastly, think about accent colors. For me, red is the perfect pop for almost any outfit. For example, I have a great tan raincoat that has red lining and drawstrings for the hood, which make it look more preppy and adds some interest. I also own no less than three red bandanas that I pair with everything. You can utilize these colors in any kinds of accessories like purses, hats, scarves, jewelry and shoes. 

Whew! That might seem like a lot, but don’t freak out. The most important thing is don’t expect everything to come together immediately. Keep your eyes peeled when shopping, and notice what you gravitate toward. Also, this is by no means a hard-and-fast method. If you see a shirt that you love that is out of your chosen color range, that’s fine! This approach aims to give you more options and streamline your style, not to stifle your creativity. 

Already have a color-coordinated closet? Email me a photo with your name and neighborhood and I’ll feature it for inspiration at the bottom of next week’s online post!

Mariel Abbene

Mariel Abbene is a designer and illustrator at The Columbian. Once a fashion merchandising major in college, she is obsessed with clothes and putting together comfortable yet stylish outfits. You can reach her at mariel.abbene@columbian.com

Streamline your style by color-coordinating your closet
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Outfit of the Week: Embroidery Outfit of the Week: Embroidery Outfit of the Week: Embroidery

This week’s outfit is special, because it has a handmade touch to it: the collars are hand embroidered. I bought this white button-up shirt from H&M almost six months ago with the intention of personalizing it. I embroider all the time, yet I didn’t get around to it until recently. 

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I sketched the design on the collar with a disappearing marker, then sewed it with a simple backstitch. If this DIY project interests you, it’s super easy to try. Embroidery materials are cheap, and there are plenty of tutorials on hand embroidery on the internet.

I paired my newly embroidered shirt with my favorite coat from GAP, a pair of Madewell jeans, and my Cole Haan booties. When it comes work wear, I usually lean toward menswear-inspired outfits. Buttoning up my shirt and the structured style of my coat helped me give off a more polished look. 

It was really cold and windy out when these photos were taken, but photographer Ariane Kunze did an amazing job of utilizing the lighting. A big shout out to her for making me look like a fancy model!

Photos by Ariane Kunze

Mariel Abbene

Mariel Abbene is a designer and illustrator at The Columbian. Once a fashion merchandising major in college, she is obsessed with clothes and putting together comfortable yet stylish outfits. You can reach her at mariel.abbene@columbian.com

Outfit of the Week: Embroidery
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What to wear, what to wear? Your wardrobe may surprise you

Have you ever woken up in the morning, washed your face, brushed your teeth, and then sat in front of your closet, wishing a fabulous outfit would materialize in front of your eyes? I’ve been there. It’s hard to pick out an outfit that makes you feel confident and comfortable when your closet seems tired and boring. 

In lieu of going to the mall and buying an entire new wardrobe, I thought I’d share some tips that I use to pick out an outfit when I’m really stuck. 

First of all, choose an item that you really like. It could be anything, from a killer pair of boots, to a new sweater, to a cute pair of glasses. Hopefully there’s at least one clothing item in your closet that you can get behind. Don’t be afraid to grab something fun, sparkly, or colorful.

The next step is to start building an outfit around what you selected. Look at your item: What colors are in it? What texture is it? What colors go well with it? Is there anything unexpected you could try on with it? Utilize any neutrals you have, even if the rest of your outfit is all black. After all, black is the new black, folks. 

After that, accessorize! Use the same techniques in the previous step to choose jewelry, a hat, or a scarf. Don’t feel the need to go overboard, but sometimes the perfect pair of earrings or a cute hat can really make an outfit. 

The last step is important: Don’t give up after the outfit. Outerwear matters! What a shame it would be to put together a great outfit and pair it with a junky raincoat or sad cardigan. This might be a hole in your wardrobe (which is understandable because coats can be a big commitment), so if it is, make note for later. There are tons of great resale stores, such as Buffalo Exchange or Goodwill, where you can find great quality, super stylish jackets. 

After that, you’re ready to go! Grab a snack, get out there and rock what USED to be your tired, boring closet. 

Illustration by me.

Mariel Abbene

Mariel Abbene is a designer and illustrator at The Columbian. Once a fashion merchandising major in college, she is obsessed with clothes and putting together comfortable yet stylish outfits. You can reach her at mariel.abbene@columbian.com

What to wear, what to wear? Your wardrobe may surprise you
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Outfit of the Week: Gingham

Outfit of the Week: Gingham

It’s rare, but once in a while, I will get the urge to bare my legs during the winter for the sake of fashion.

On Monday, I mixed patterns and textures by pairing an H&M gingham shirt dress with a cozy marled cardigan from Target’s latest brand, A New Day. I love the curved collar of the cardigan that makes me feel like I’m wearing a fancy, classic coat.

I also wore a Madewell bandana (surprise!) for a pop of color, and my Doc Martens boots to finish things off. Thank goodness for sunny days in November!


EDIT: My apologies if you read this post before and were confused – it looks like the paragraphs got mixed up while we were trying to fix some technical issues. It’s fixed now.




Mariel Abbene

Mariel Abbene is a designer and illustrator at The Columbian. Once a fashion merchandising major in college, she is obsessed with clothes and putting together comfortable yet stylish outfits. You can reach her at mariel.abbene@columbian.com

Outfit of the Week: Gingham
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Outfit of the Week: Winter Wear

With the weather getting colder, it’s time to dig out the heavy layers. 

Today, I’m wearing my favorite coat, which I found at Buffalo Exchange for $30. I remember trying it on and sending a photo of it to my boyfriend at the time to ask him what he thought of it. He said, “Eh, it’s all right.” I promptly bought it and have worn it every day since, weather permitting. 

This Gap scarf is one of the oldest items in my closet, but I still love it. The colors are trendy, yet are easy to match with other clothing. 

I’m also wearing Madewell overalls (if it seems like half my closet is from Madewell, that’s because half of my closet is from Madewell), and Doc Martens. I’m actually from Portland, so there’s probably some kind of contract stating that I have to wear Doc Martens for 30 days a year in order to be considered a resident. Or something. 

 Photo by Alisha Jucevic/The Columbian

Mariel Abbene

Mariel Abbene is a designer and illustrator at The Columbian. Once a fashion merchandising major in college, she is obsessed with clothes and putting together comfortable yet stylish outfits. You can reach her at mariel.abbene@columbian.com

Outfit of the Week: Winter Wear
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Four ways to wear button-up shirts

One of my favorite things to do when I get dressed in the morning is to pick an outfit I’ve never worn before. I repeat combinations sometimes, but I try to avoid wearing the same outfit twice. 

You may be thinking: “How big is this girl’s closet?” while picturing one of those crazy Pinterest-style rooms stocked with shoes and clothes. If only that was my secret.

In reality, I scope out clothing items that are versatile and get creative with layering and accessories. I also try to keep all my clothing within the same color family, so that everything goes together and can be interchanged. I own a lot of neutrals, which gives me more options and allows me to add colorful and fun accessories to spice things up. 

By far, the most useful items of clothing in my closet that serve as a great base for any outfit is a button-up shirt. They can be worn in so many different ways — buttoned or unbuttoned, dressed up or dressed down. Some brave folks even wear them as a skirt or make them into off-shoulder tops. The options are plentiful and varied.

This week, I decided to show the ways that I usually wear my button-up shirts, and the things I consider when putting together an outfit in order to make it different and more interesting. I selected one top and assembled four outfits around it.

The shirt I chose is a denim Madewell top. I love the boxy structure and the raw hem, which makes it flattering tucked or untucked. Plus, a denim shirt is a great staple, and it’s likely that many readers have one in their closet already, and may be able to relate and experiment with their own looks. 

Four ways to wear button-up shirts

Buttons undone: 

This style is perfect for showing off your favorite necklace or scarf. If you read my first post, you’d probably be unsurprised that I chose a bandana. This one is a basic red one from a craft store. I’m also wearing a crescent necklace from Etsy. This basic, super comfy skirt is from GAP, and I’m wearing my favorite winter shoes — my Doc Martens boots. 

Four ways to wear button-up shirts

Buttoned up: It’s not as common for women to wear their shirts buttoned all the way up, which is one reason that I love this style. It’s unexpected, but it looks sharp and put together. I’m wearing my favorite pair of pants: floral print, tie waisted trousers that are as comfortable as pajamas. I’m also wearing my favorite shoes, which are fabulous Dankso clogs with fringe that I found at Nordstrom Rack. This outfit shows how you can easily turn something casual, such as a denim shirt, into a dressier outfit.

Four ways to wear button-up shirtsUnder: Wearing a crew neck sweater over a collared shirt is a classic workwear staple. I mixed it up by layering this long V-neck sweater from LOFT over my shirt. The relaxed joggers, which are also from LOFT, make it a little more casual, so I chose sleek Cole Haan booties to finish off the look and prevent it from looking sloppy. 

Four ways to wear button-up shirts

Over: This style is easiest when going for a casual look. Maybe I have been watching too much “Stranger Things,” because this outfit has a bit of an ‘80s vibe. Under my denim shirt, I’m wearing a striped tee from Madewell, tucked into these great high-waisted corduroys from Urban Outfitters. I’m also wearing a belt that I stole from my mom’s closet, and my Stan Smith Adidas sneakers to keep the look casual, comfy and sporty. 

Button-up shirts, especially in a neutral color or fabric such as denim, can yield a large plethora of different outfit options. Layering, tucking, or buttoning can create totally different vibes and makes it easier to make good use out of the clothing you already have. It doesn’t take a giant closet full of clothes for outfit options — just a bit of creativity. 

Four ways to wear button-up shirtsFour ways to wear button-up shirts

 Photos by Alisha Jucevic/The Columbian

Mariel Abbene

Mariel Abbene is a designer and illustrator at The Columbian. Once a fashion merchandising major in college, she is obsessed with clothes and putting together comfortable yet stylish outfits. You can reach her at mariel.abbene@columbian.com

Four ways to wear button-up shirts
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Outfit of the Week: Leather

Do you ever get that feeling when you buy some new clothing and you just want to wear it all at the same time? Well, this outfit is a product of that feeling. 

I recently bought this super cool top from Zara, that features a boxy cut and some striping down the middle and on the sleeves. 

I also finally found a leather jacket that suits me! It’s faux leather, which is totally fine with me, both because I don’t want to kill a cow for fashion and also because it was $35 on Asos.com. Win-win.

The bottom half of my outfit isn’t new, but worked well with showcasing my fun items on top. I chose plain skinny jeans (sans rips, of course, since I wore them to work), and my waterproof Cole Haan ankle boots which were perfect for a drizzly day like today. 

 Photos by Alisha Jucevic/The Columbian

Outfit of the Week: Leather   Outfit of the Week: Leather

Mariel Abbene

Mariel Abbene is a designer and illustrator at The Columbian. Once a fashion merchandising major in college, she is obsessed with clothes and putting together comfortable yet stylish outfits. You can reach her at mariel.abbene@columbian.com

Outfit of the Week: Leather
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It’s all right  to wear white

Well, here we are. It’s weeks past Labor Day, and I’m wearing white. 

Not just white shoes or a white scarf — all white. 

Before you call Stacy London of “What Not to Wear” in outrage, let’s chat about the origins of this age-old adage and whether or not it should be preserved.

According to a Time article from 2009, this fashion rule began in the early 20th Century. For the most part, people wore white during the summer because the dark, heavy clothing they would usually wear was too hot for summer days. When fall returned, they would revert to their usual black, brown and gray. This could be one reason for the rule. However, it’s possible the true origin of the “no white after Labor Day” rule was created out of snobbery. 

During the early 1900s, members of the old-money elite could afford to take long vacations, unlike their social inferiors. During these high-class holidays, they would wear their smartest white linen and finest ivory accessories, giving off an air of casual luxury. These outfits created a sharp contrast between the rich folk and the drab fashions of the general population. Labor Day was an unofficial end marker to summer, as it is now, and the trend of storing away white clothing as summer came to a close became a hard-and-fast etiquette rule for the elites. It was a way to separate themselves from the burgeoning middle class that was becoming increasingly wealthier and closing the social gap. Those who weren’t in the know were easily identified and viewed as outsiders.

Fortunately, it’s not the 1930s anymore, and we don’t have to dress based on our social status in society. White clothing can provide respite from the drudges of the endless black, navy and gray that colder months often entail. There are many ways to style fall and winter whites, and I went all in for this outfit. I have not yet been snubbed, which is a good sign that this rule is a bit outdated, and at it’s core, fairly ridiculous. 

What I’m wearing

Today’s outfit is centered around some great ivory crop flare jeans from Madewell. They are one of my favorite pieces for fall, because the off-white color makes them a versatile neutral that looks great with a variety of other colors, both dark and light. 

If you want to be an etiquette rebel, you can go for the all white look, like I did today. My top is a soft, grayish-white flannel, which also happens to be from Madewell. I chose this shirt because it’s fuzzy texture and thickness definitely says autumn. Plus, it has pockets. 

As a self-proclaimed scarf aficionado, you can spot me with a bandana around my neck at least three days a week. Today was one of those days. This artsy, abstract bandana from Zara works great because the colors have nothing to compete with, since I’m wearing all white. There is also a bit of cream in it, which reflects the color of my pants and ties the outfit together. Lastly, I am wearing a great pair of mules, which were a steal from Target at $22. Talk about bargain shopping!

It’s all right  to wear white

If you’re still wary of wearing white after Labor Day, here are some tips to make your outfit more cold-weather friendly:

Photos by Alisha Jucevic/The Columbian





Mariel Abbene

Mariel Abbene is a designer and illustrator at The Columbian. Once a fashion merchandising major in college, she is obsessed with clothes and putting together comfortable yet stylish outfits. You can reach her at mariel.abbene@columbian.com

It’s all right  to wear white
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Male Western Tiger Swallow-tail butterflies will sometimes congregate in wet areas seeking nutrients.  The term for this behavior is mud-puddling.  These butterflies were seen today on the west side of Gee Creek downstream from Abrams Park in Ridgefield.  There were 32 that Paul Snoey counted with some leaving and new arrivals dropping in on occasion.

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The Ridgefield Lions Club will be serving burgers again this year at their famous corner booth at the Clark County Fair. While they are trying to increase membership in the club, they still need many, many volunteers to help at the booth. They have set up a sign-up list on their website www.ridgefieldlions.com and ask that anyone interested, signup for any 6 hour shift. You will get free entrance to the fair for the day and have a good time with the other Lions in the booth.

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Workers are hurrying to finish the ground work before paving Main Avenue in downtown Ridgefield this summer. The deadline of course, is the 4th of July so the road will be in good shape for the parade. Let’s hope we don’t get any rain before then. These photos are looking north and south on Main Avenue.

Road Work Continues in Ridgefield

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Windy Hills Winery in Ridgefield is putting the final touches on their grand rock facade between now and their opening of Memorial Day Weekend. Owner Dave Kelly, right, and winemaker, Bob Mayfield are excited to be a part of the growing Clark County wine scene. (Photo by Viki Eierdam)

This from winemaker Bob Mayfield: “They said it couldn’t be done, and they were almost right. After nearly two and a half years of planning and building, Windy Hills Winery is finally going to open. Owner Dave Kelly texted me at 1 pm Friday to let me know we got the final OK from the county, and here we go! We’ll be open Memorial Day Weekend, noon to five, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The winery is at 1360 S. 38th Ct. in Ridgefield.

The Windy Hills lineup consists of two vineyard designated Pinot Noirs, a bodacious Reserve Pinot blend, a Tempranillo, and a party red blend. We needed to source juice from elsewhere to fill out our roster, so we grabbed some amazing Viognier (seriously!), Malbec, Syrah, and a Bordeaux blend, all from Walla Walla. We’re starting with two tasting menus, $10  for a flight of five wines, wines by the glass, and beer from a Hood River brewery, whose name I cannot remember.

As wine maker, I will be releasing my wines under the label Spudders Crest (I just got labels approved this morning!), and I’m starting with an estate rosé of Pinot Noir, though I have to call it Homegrown (don’t ask), and a fabulous Sunnyside Vineyard 2014 Pinot Noir. I also have an O! Naturelle wine (no sulfites added) that I hope to release next week, a couple more rosés, and in a couple weeks a Cheep Cheep White Wine, an Auxerrois, some fruit wines, and a hopped apple cider. Phew!

BTW, I promise, I will not spam anyone, and will only send out emails to people who really want them.

And finally, Windy Hills is a fabulous building, a first class event center (I know what you’re thinking, how did I get involved?), just a gorgeous location.

That’s all for now. I hope to see ya’ll soon. It’s gonna be crazy!


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Join host, ethnobotonist and author Kat Anderson at theCathlapotle Plankhouse for a special presentation, “Beauty, Bounty and Biodiversity,” and night hike on May 26 from 7-8:30 pm.

“Kat Anderson will share connections with California and Pacific Northwest tribes, by examining traditionally managed edible wildflower gardens of California. She will also explore the implications that these gardens have for fostering pollinator habitat, increasing biodiversity, and the ways in which these plants have evolved to meet the needs of people.”

Then at 8:30 pm explore the Oaks to Wetlands Trail on a naturalist guided hike, “The Refuge at Dusk”. RSVP required, email sarah_hill@fws.gov to save your spot today!


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You are invited to the Ridgefield Art Association sponsored Bruce Crockett Memorial Quick Draw Friday, May 5th, at the Ridgefield Community Center, 210 Main Ave.

You will be able to watch eight artists create original artworks while you enjoy food, beverages and live music. A caricature artist will draw portraits, and there will be interactive art and both live and silent auctions.

A portion of the proceeds benefit the Ridgefield High School Art Department.

You may buy tickets from any Ridgefield Art Association members, or call Patricia at: 360-931-9573. You may also email the Ridgefield Art Association at: ridgefieldartists@live.com to purchase tickets.

This is going to be a great opportunity to see artists in action and get to know your Ridgefield neighbors. Newcomers to town are especially welcome.

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Healthy Living Question:  Does your body desire cooked vs raw food?  Do you strive to eat more raw foods and feel sluggish and bloated?  Consider switching to consuming more cooked food to jump start your healthy living eating program. 

I am currently enrolled in Vancouver Yoga Center‘s 200 hour yoga teacher trainer course instructed by Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner Melonie Nielsen LMP and E-RYT 500.

Healthy Living Cooked vs raw:  Cooked wins

Wowza what a course – not only are we learning about traditional yoga asanas (poses), body alignment, and body biomechanics… we are also learning about the power of the mind, benefits of meditation, ayurvedic principles, natural healing, healthy living, breath work and I’m sure a whole host of other topics yet to be discussed in our final 3 immersion weekends.  Its been a great way to jump start my journey to better health of my mind body and spirit.

Healthy Living Cooked vs raw:  Cooked winsPart of this month’s assignment was to complete a 5 page comprehensive ayurvedic health history to help me determine my mind-body constitution – otherwise known in ayurvedic terms as my prakriti. My prakriti corresponds to the type of dosha I have – either vata, pitta or kapha or a combination of dosas.  In a nut shell the vata dosha = cool, dry, irregular; pitta = fiery, hot and good leaders; and finally kapha = oily, wet and easy going.  I believe I’m a vata pitta dosha – it will be interesting to get validation once my assessment is complete in the next few weeks.  For more info on doshas.

Each meal I ask my body what she wants.  For some reason over the last week, my body wanted more cooked foods over raw foods.  My vata constitution said “heck yeah!”  No problemo – pulled pork crockpot, non dairy salmon chowder, oatmeal with cherries and walnuts, and lots of vegetable stirfrys.  Not one RAW SALAD ALL WEEK!  My body and mind felt nourished and more alive.  My body easily digests and metabolizes cooked foods over raw.  This gives me so much energy or digestive fire Agni.  I feel more alive which I believe is due to better absorption of nutrients.  When I am eating a diet consisting of more raw fresh fruits and vegetables my body feels sluggish with more bloating and more gas.

I remember I did a similar week long cooked food vs raw food protocol experiment 2 years ago as part of my Nutritional Therapy coursework at Portland Community College.  I remember feeling this same amazing on top of the world feeling then too.  Why didn’t I continue eating/cooking this way?  I dunno life got in the way I suppose.  Nevertheless, I am reminded yet again that my body really enjoys cooked food over raw foods and have posted a note on the fridge to help me remember how wonderful I am feeling!  Read more about Ayurvedic Perspective on Food from the Chopra Center

Healthy Living Cooked vs raw:  Cooked winsSo in celebration of this refreshed “cooked over raw” ayurvedic approach to food preparation I prepared a wonderful breakfast for myself of black bean noodles with red curry sauce and sauteed vegetables.

Black Bean Noodles:  Prepare black bean noodles according to package directions.  Once drained, toss noodles with 1 tsp olive oil

Sauce:  16 oz can of light coconut milk, add 1 TBS red curry sauce, 1 tsp of tumeric, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp of 5 powder spice, and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon.  Bring ingredients to a boil then reduce to a simmer until desired consistency.  Warning – watch the boiling stage – easy boil over stage.

Vegetable saute:  1 cup of carrots sliced, 1/2 red onion chopped, 2 cups of romaine lettuce chopped, 1/4 cup red cabbage sliced, 1/2 yellow pepper.  Saute vegetables in 2 tsp of olive oil until desired consistency.

Serve:  3/4 cup of noodles, add 3/4 cup of sauted vegetables, and 1/2 cup of sauce.  Enjoy!

Healthy Living Cooked vs raw:  Cooked wins

  #healthliving #satedsensitive #yum #healthybreakfast #ayurvedic #igotthis

Denise Hays

Welcome to Sated Sensitive. My name is Denise. Furry momma to 1 dog and 1 cat (^._.^)ノ . Married lucky 13 years to Mr. Fantabulous. We love Clark County! I have food sensitivities to dairy, gluten, peanuts, and soy. I am now fully embracing the "right" foods to nourish my body. I'll be sharing ideas for healthy living tips for us sensitive food enthusiasts. Thanks for visiting!

Healthy Living Cooked vs raw:  Cooked wins
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As the dreary gray days continue here in Clark County coupled with the switch this weekend to daylight savings time (HATE!), so many people at my gym Battleground Snap Fitness – have shared with me that they’re feeling bluesy, tired, sleepy and depressed. What can you do about it?  Consider evaluating your Vitamin D levels!  Vitamin D is NOT just for bones – it may just help boost your mood, and improve your memory too.  

MOOD BOOSTER Vitamin D – NOT just for bones
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin which helps support bone health, muscle function, cell growth, immunity and so many other body functions.

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium for healthy bones and teeth and helps protect older adults from osteopenia or osteoporosis.   Even if you have a calcium rich diet (plenty of low fat dairy foods and green leafy vegetables), without enough Vitamin D you can’t absorb the calcium into your bones and cells.  Without enough Vitamin D and calcium, vitamin deficiencies may pose a health risk to the 40+ adult leaving their bones at risk for bone fractures.

Vitamin D aids in other areas in our body. It helps muscle function in that nerves need Vitamin D it to carry messages between brain and every body part. The immune system uses Vitamin D to help fight off invading bacteria and viruses.  Vitamin D also helps promote normal cell growth and prevents inflammation throughout the body making it a promising anti-cancer agent as well as an inflammation reducer.

MOOD BOOSTER Vitamin D – NOT just for bonesVitamin D is obtained in 3 ways:

Vitamin D comes in 2 forms – D2 (ergocalciferol) found in some plant life in response to UV radiation (mushrooms) and in most fortified foods. D3 (cholecalciferol) is the more potent and most biologically active. Studies have shown that both forms are equally good for bone health.

Some FAQs:

MOOD BOOSTER Vitamin D – NOT just for bonesThere is continued ongoing research on additional benefits of Vitamin D from helping to prevent colon, prostate and breast cancers to preventing and treating diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and multiple sclerosis. There may also be a correlation with vitamin D deficiency and auto-immune diseases.  I am curiously looking forward to reading the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Dr. Joann Manesults of a the V-I-T-A-L (VIT comes from vitamin D; A from OmegA-3; and L from Trial) 3 year trial that is exploring the potential role of vitamin d and omega 3 fatty acids in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease.  Over 25,000 men and women were involved with this study.  Check out VITAL Study.

As a Nutritionist, I highly recommend taking advantage of the Pacific Northwest sunshine with outdoor activities at least 15 minutes a day 2 – 3 days a week during the spring and summer to naturally stockpile Vitamin D. During the fall/winter its best to supplement with Vitamin D to ensure proper Vitamin D levels. I personally take Genestra Brands’ “D-Mulsion 1000” liquid vitamin supplement in Citrus Flavor. Each drop contains 1,000 IUs of cholecalciferol with .01 mg of stevia. I prefer the easier to swallow liquid form over a capsule; each day I add my vitamin D drops to my liquid calcium/magnesium supplement to boost my mood.

MOOD BOOSTER Vitamin D – NOT just for bones

Come “Stump the Nutritionist” Denise Hays most Thursdays 1 – 4 PM at BG Apothecary located at 314 NE 1st Ave, Battleground WA. I’m always happy to talk nutrition, health, and wellness! See you soon.



#satedsensitive #healthyliving #glutenfree #dairyfree #eatrealfood #soyfree #naturalremedies #nutritionaltherapy #nutrition


Denise Hays

Welcome to Sated Sensitive. My name is Denise. Furry momma to 1 dog and 1 cat (^._.^)ノ . Married lucky 13 years to Mr. Fantabulous. We love Clark County! I have food sensitivities to dairy, gluten, peanuts, and soy. I am now fully embracing the "right" foods to nourish my body. I'll be sharing ideas for healthy living tips for us sensitive food enthusiasts. Thanks for visiting!

MOOD BOOSTER Vitamin D – NOT just for bones
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As part of its 2016-2017 U.S. tour, World Help is proud to present Children of the World International Children’s Choir. The choir, comprised of orphaned and disadvantaged children from several different countries, will be performing at Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene on Saturday, March 25th at 6:30pm and on Sunday, March 26th at 9:00 and 11:00am.  This event is open to the public.  There are no tickets, but a free-will offering will be taken to support the ministry of World Hope.  For additional information about the concert, visit the church website at www.ridgenaz.org or call the church office at 360-887-3576.

The choir represents a rich and culturally diverse set of backgrounds and experiences, each with an urgent story to tell. This year’s Rescue Tour calls attention to the staggering impact that poverty, malnutrition, and dirty water have on millions of children around the world.

Through the powerful medium of song, dance, spoken word, and creative media, Children of the World provides a compelling message of hope and opportunity, leaving an unforgettable impression with audiences across the country.

The children have performed in such venues as Focus on the Family, Brooklyn Tabernacle, and Disney World.

About World Help

World Help is a faith-based humanitarian organization that exists to serve the physical and spiritual needs of people in impoverished communities around the world.  World Help is committed to meeting people’s physical needs by providing humanitarian, medical, and educational assistance and ensuring access to clean water to as many communities as possible. We promise to meet people’s spiritual needs by providing Bibles and establishing churches.

Since 1991, World Help has impacted over 73 million people in 69 countries worldwide, offering both physical and spiritual restoration for individuals, families, and communities.

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Every 3rd Sunday, I bake healthy gluten free treats for the Battleground FourSquare Church – so I’m always searching for new and exciting recipes!

I spied this B-A-K-E-D Sweet Potato Donuts with Chocolate Coconut recipe from Ambitious Kitchen blog 

Inspired, I made a few changes for us Gluten Free and Dairy Free Sensitive bakers.  Here’s Sated Sensitive’s take on this scrumptious breakfast treats:

mmmmm Healthy Living Baked Gluten Free and Dairy Free Do’h nuts

3/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cooked mashed sweet potato (or canned pumpkin)
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled (olive oil also works well)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1 TBS vanilla                                                                                               1/2 cup coconut flakes


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a donut pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together gluten free all purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt; set aside.  In a separate bowl, mix together the sweet potato (or pumpkin), honey, egg, coconut oil and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Avoid overmixing here as it can make the donuts tough instead of light and fluffy. Spoon the batter into the donut pan, filling almost to the top.  Bake for 13 – 16 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Turn the donuts onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Once donuts are cooled, mix together the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Dip each donut in the icing then immediately dip into the coconut flakes, then transfer to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining donuts.

You can skip the icing and coconut flakes however the baked donuts are just not that pretty on the up side so they kinda needed something to spruce them up.

Homer Simpson votes YES for these healthy living donuts!

mmmmm Healthy Living Baked Gluten Free and Dairy Free Do’h nuts


Denise Hays

Welcome to Sated Sensitive. My name is Denise. Furry momma to 1 dog and 1 cat (^._.^)ノ . Married lucky 13 years to Mr. Fantabulous. We love Clark County! I have food sensitivities to dairy, gluten, peanuts, and soy. I am now fully embracing the "right" foods to nourish my body. I'll be sharing ideas for healthy living tips for us sensitive food enthusiasts. Thanks for visiting!

mmmmm Healthy Living Baked Gluten Free and Dairy Free Do’h nuts
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Three simple salmon recipes worthy of the kitchen table

Smoked paprika grilled salmon paired with a 2011 Tarì Irpinio Aglianico is unconventional but an admirable Northwest twist. Viki Eierdam

In 2016 an unfortunate statistic was reported; for the first time in history Americans spent more money eating out than they did on groceries. Unfortunate for a multitude of reasons, one being that the expansion of the American mid-section is largely attributed to meals prepared outside the home. Google it, I don’t make this stuff up.

I love a meal out as much as the next person but cooking doesn’t have to be complicated, folks. To prove it, here are three variations of salmon paired with three different wines (two super foods joining forces to return dinnertime to the kitchen).

Wine: 2011 Tarì Irpinio Aglianico (Taurasi)

Some wine writers are more traditional, some are a little edgy. Pairing aglianico with salmon is certainly unconventional but the smokiness imparted from grilling and the smoky and floral notes of the paprika make an atypical suggestion an intriguing combination. Racy acidity and bracing tannins are calmed in older vintages and a little breathing time before drinking. My Texas friends would say aglianico pairs better with brisket but this Northwest twist is admirable.

Smoked Paprika Grilled Salmon

¼ C orange juice

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp thyme leaves, divided

1 ¼ lb salmon fillets

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp grated orange peel

½ tsp sea salt

Mix juice, 2 Tbsp oil and 1 tsp of thyme in 9”x13” glass baking dish. Add salmon, turn to coat. Cover. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Mix sugar, remaining spices and orange peel. Remove salmon from marinade and dispose of marinade. Rub top of salmon evenly with spice mixture and place on preheated, generously oiled grill for about six minutes on each side. Serves 4-6.

Three simple salmon recipes worthy of the kitchen table

Photo error: Pair Mustard-Crusted Salmon with Pinot Gris for best match. Viki Eierdam

Wine: 2015 Kudos Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley)

The creamy, slightly zesty notes of the mustard sauce mingle nicely with the rich texture of this white. Welcomes with stone fruit to mandarin orange on the palate and plenty of acid follow through to keep it lively.

Mustard Crusted Salmon

1 1/4 lb salmon fillets

¼ tsp salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

¼ C low-fat yogurt (or sour cream)

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp lemon juice

Place salmon, skin-side down in lightly oiled 9”x15” glass baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Combine yogurt, mustard and lemon juice in a small bowl. Spread evenly over salmon. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serves 4-6.

Wine: 2011 Leone D’Oro Chianti Classico Riserva (Chianti)

Made predominantly from sangiovese grapes, this is on the dry side with black cherry and tobacco notes. The fattiness from the pecans and salmon match the acidity of this wine while the seasonings play with the spiciness of the Chianti. Oak aging brings out a hint of nuttiness on the finish.

Three simple salmon recipes worthy of the kitchen table

Photo error: Pair Pecan Crusted Salmon with Chianti for best flavor match. Viki Eierdam

Pecan Crusted Salmon

1 1/4 lb salmon fillets

4 Tbsp pecan meal

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

¼ tsp lemon pepper

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp Johnny’s seasoning salt

To make pecan meal, process pecans in a blender on low. Store unused pecan meal in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Mix pecan meal, olive oil and four seasonings in a small bowl.  Place salmon, skin-side down in a lightly oiled 9”x 15” glass baking dish. Coat the top of the salmon fillet with pecan mixture. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serves 4-6.



I am a Clark County native. I am Level 2 WSET (wine and spirit education trust)-certified and enjoy pairing wine with my passion for travel and fondness of food. My most prized possessions are the memories of places I've been with my husband, the chance encounters we've been blessed to have along the way and my carry-on bag. I can often be seen around town and in tasting rooms with our two beautiful, double-Merle Australian shepherds, Challenge and Baby Girl.

Three simple salmon recipes worthy of the kitchen table
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Burnt Bridge featured wine at The Grant House wine dinner

Photo provided

Did you crash and burn this Valentine’s Day? Here’s your chance for a do-over…

 Burnt Bridge featured wine at The Grant House wine dinner


I am a Clark County native. I am Level 2 WSET (wine and spirit education trust)-certified and enjoy pairing wine with my passion for travel and fondness of food. My most prized possessions are the memories of places I've been with my husband, the chance encounters we've been blessed to have along the way and my carry-on bag. I can often be seen around town and in tasting rooms with our two beautiful, double-Merle Australian shepherds, Challenge and Baby Girl.

Burnt Bridge featured wine at The Grant House wine dinner
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Last years’ end state was horrible; the Portland Timbers, returning MLS Champions, missed the playoffs.  Not good; especially when 60% of  the teams in your Conference make the playoffs.

New Hat? or Old Tricks? Portland Timbers 2017 Preview

Clearly changes needed to be made.

Notable midfield additions include David Guzman, Sebastian Blanco, and the return of Dairon Asprilla.

On the defensive side, where the Timbers had their biggest weakness, new faces are more scarce.

Gbenga Arokoyo, who saw no appreciable time last year, was expected to start at right center-back.

Roy Miller and Lawrence Olum have also been signed.  Miller is not yet available while Olum appears to hold the center-back spot until Miller shows value or another new signing occurs.

It is rumored that Banana Yaya may be added soon – he’s a center-back (with two caps for Cameroon) who has played 69 games in the last two years for Plantanias (Greece); that volume of games played should indicate he’s a starter who’s offered consistency and quality.

So… changes have been made – but signing a player is just the first step…

READ HERE for a track record of previous Portland Timbers signings:  Making the Most of the Much Maligned Melano.

As follow up to the first step here’s my list of “next steps” (of equal importance) I sense/submit need to happen (on the pitch) to reduce goals against this year:

David Guzman needs to show better than Jack Jewsbury or Ben Zemanski – in pre-season – I would offer he has.  Some wonder if Ben Zemanski remains with the squad this year; I do too.

Liam Ridgewell needs to pull his socks up and LEAD by example.

The days of cynical fouls (anywhere) on the pitch must be stopped.  There are worthy fouls, like the one he had the other night to stop play while Fenando Adi was down on the pitch, and then there are just plain cynical, stupid fouls, that are more about ‘men behaving badly’ than anything else… more leadership and less ‘men behaving badly’…

Diego Chara needs to follow the leadership example expected of Liam Ridgewell; limit his misplaced, men behaving badly fouls, and show aggression where timely – not untimely.

New Hat? or Old Tricks? Portland Timbers 2017 Preview

Vytas needs to continue to show abilities in playing a shut-down fullback role so sorely missed with the departure of a (then) VERY under-rated Jorge Villafana.

New Hat? or Old Tricks? Portland Timbers 2017 Preview

With another year under his belt Alvas Powell not only needs to continue offering grist and speed on the right (improve his outlook as a shutdown fullback) but he also needs to show better positional play and (wait for it) try to stay on his feet more.  The more sliding tackles you make the more often you’re out of position to begin with.  Fewer sliding tackles would be a great individual statistic to track for Alvas.

New Hat? or Old Tricks? Portland Timbers 2017 Preview

Caleb needs to show a bit more patience with the younger players and give them opportunities to fail.

It’s failure – and learning from failure – that makes players better.  If a player DOESN’T learn from failure, then move ‘em… and make room for the next man up.

Here’s my list of younger players who should get more minutes…  with hindsight  being 20-20 I’m sure Caleb would have played more younger players last year if he’d known the Timbers were going to yield 53 goals against AND still have a reasonable shot at the playoffs…

In the interim (while Clarke grows and the Timbers perhaps sign Banana Yoyo – great name!) Lawrence Olum needs to offer better defensive play than Jermaine Taylor or Stephen Taylor… Is it cynical to offer that Olum already shows greater lateral speed than either one of those guys?

Part of better defending includes improved attacking. 

Jorge Villafana added great positional awareness and penetrating skills when in attack – Vytas and Alvas need to show the same grist in being able to play both sides of the ball – while thinking defense first.  That’s a hard order to follow – but if David Guzman adds value as a true #6 then those two SHOULD be able to push a tad bit higher up the pitch.

Is Sebastian Blanco the answer in lieu of the much maligned Melano?  I think so… Blanco has shown good possession skills, measured awareness and the ability to make space for himself and others WHILE also showing a great 1st touch…  a considerable improvement.

Darlington Nagbe needs to show his “inverted” attacking prowess improves productivity while also showing his improved abilities to play on both sides of the ball.  Caleb and I spoke about Darlington playing inverted over two years ago.  Caleb confirmed with me that both he and Gavin Wilkinson knew this was a productive area for Darlington… what got “in the way” was not having a worthy player to suit up on the right.  With Blanco in the fold that gap should be closed.

New Hat? or Old Tricks? Portland Timbers 2017 Preview

Diego Chara needs to push forward a bit more – we’ve seen his penetrating ability in the past, and his speed adds great value as a trailing midfielder.  But what adds more value is seeing Diego slightly higher up the pitch where he can press and use his ball-winning skills to manage the midfield better.  Quicker pressure can lead to turnovers, which can lead to quick counterattacks for the likes of Diego Valeri and Fenando Adi.

Speaking of which; the Maestro is simply one of the best players in MLS.

Most offer Diego Valeri is an attacking midfielder – I’m a bit old-fashioned – for me he’s earned the worthy title of Striker…

There are forwards, there are midfielders, and then there are strikers – Diego is a striker… Diego needs to continue to provide a great first touch, vision, penetrating passes, and striking ability; those four ingredients enhance Portland possession and keep the ball from the opponent.

New Hat? or Old Tricks? Portland Timbers 2017 Preview

Diego’s striking partner is Fenando Adi.

New Hat? or Old Tricks? Portland Timbers 2017 Preview

Fenando, a forward, is a true #9 striker… (perhaps?) the best in MLS.  Anytime he’s on the pitch this team has a chance, and with his size/strength he also adds great value in defending set-pieces…

If these things occur the Portland Timbers should be better in defending – and hopefully they’ll return to 2013 form where they yielded just 33 goals against…  the last time this team spent a good portion of the game in possession of the ball.

So how about the substitutes this year?  A key part to any team, and a weakness cited by Porter this year, are the next seven off the bench. 

In looking at the most recent pre-season game I think things are taking shape on Porter’s first in (if you will).

We saw Dairon Asprilla replace Sebastian Blanco (helping his missus move to Portland).   It’s great to see Dairon back with Portland.  He’s always added value playing both ways.  And his presence should only serve to keep Sebastian Blanco on his toes.  And with Darlington Nagbe finally getting the national team recognition he deserves it’s likely Dairon gets plenty of minutes this year.New Hat? or Old Tricks? Portland Timbers 2017 Preview

Next up we saw Darren Mattocks, Victor Arboleda, and Rennico Clarke, followed by Jack Barmby when Diego Valeri took a knock.

I saw value in all those players coming onto the pitch – yes Clarke got a bit cross-wise in defending atop the 18 yard box – but as Porter indicated after the game – he has confidence Rennico will learn from that.  And… the more opportunities he has to learn from failure (early on) the better prepared he’ll be for regular season – if needed.

Darren has been shifted up top – a good thing in my view.  He still can leverage his pace and high pressure abilities – but he won’t have to find himself losing energy in having to play both sides of the ball all game long.

In thinking about the placement of Jack Barmby.  In the few games I’ve seen Jack has taken up the central attacking midfielder position.  I like this – Barmby has shown good awareness, first touch and playing on both sides of the ball.

What sticks out to me the most, however, have been some of his unsuccessful (penetrating passes).  Those passes are the same types of passes we see with Diego Valeri – some don’t find a teammate (usually because the teammate isn’t thinking fast enough) but some do…

It’s those (unsuccessful penetrating) passes that remind me of Diego Valeri.  A good individual statistic this year for Jack Barmby – in showing growth – are the number of unsuccessful penetrating passes…  the more playing time he gets I’d offer, the fewer of those we see as his teammates will begin to expect the unexpected.

New Hat? or Old Tricks? Portland Timbers 2017 Preview

Barmby – Courtesy of Oregon Live

I’d offer those are the first five players off the bench…  leaving Jeff Attinella (goal keeper) and one additional player.

My preferred choice is Marco Farfan.  I don’t watch training all that often and it’s hard to say whether or not Caleb would go with another central midfielder.  But… in the past Caleb has usually had a fullback on the bench.  I sense that slot is filled by Marco Farfan.

In all, I’d submit that’s a pretty strong first 18.

Who do you think makes the subs bench this year?

Best, Chris

For those who like a bit of nostalgia – here’s what I offered to begin the 2016 season.  Old Hat?  New Tricks?


COPYRIGHT: All Rights Reserved.  Trademark PWP

Chris Gluck

I have been covering the Portland Timbers and Major League Soccer, as a community blogger/analyst for the Columbian Newspaper, since June, 2012. Since then my involvement in soccer analysis has expanded to include participating in the Regional Emmy Award Winning Soccer City PDX TV Show (Comcast Sports Northwest). My unique analytical approach has been published in Europe and presented at the World Conference on Science and Soccer 2014. I also appear regularly as a co-host on Rose City Soccer Show and the Yellowcarded Podcast. You can find my work on PossessionwithPurpose.com, PTFC Collective and Prost Amerika.

New Hat? or Old Tricks? Portland Timbers 2017 Preview
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Wine & Travel: Texas Hill Country

Picpoul blanc, charbono and tannat are featured alongside 100 percent roussanne Comfortage, cinsault Rosé and Thinkers—a red blend of petite sirah and tinta cão, proving the varietal diversity of Texas Hill Country wines. Viki Eierdam

Living in the northwest surrounded by so many terrific wine regions, it can be easy to forget the world is filled with exceptional wines and even varietals yet to be discovered. On its own, the United States provides fun and exciting excuses to venture out in search of the great grapes of the globe.

Everything’s big in Texas and their wine scene is no exception. In fact, the Lone Star state boasts the second largest AVA in America. Texas Hill Country was my destination of choice back in January and it was clear early on that, yes, there is award-winning wine worthy of the voyage.

Wine & Travel: Texas Hill Country

Flat Creek Estate winemaker, Tim Drake, hails from Federal Way, Washington. He came to the Hill Country to dabble in different winemaking techniques including aging pinot grigio and viogner in Russian oak barrels. Dan Eierdam

A bit off the beaten path lies Flat Creek Estate. As such, there is on-site lodging and dining and events scheduled throughout the year to make the effort worth every patron’s while. Interestingly, winemaker Tim Drake hails from Federal Way, Washington. He came to the Hill Country to dabble in different varietals and winemaking techniques. Aging pinot grigio and viogner in Russian oak barrels is imparting a subdued spice that is turning heads.

“I always felt the viogniers from Washington were nice but had a hole in the mid-palate. We fill the hole in down here in Texas,” Drake said.

In fact, Pedernales Cellars (another Texas Hill Country winery) walked away with a Grand Gold at the 2013 Lyon International Wine Competition for their 2012 Viognier; the only U.S. viognier to earn such an honor. Their compadres, Flat Creek Estate and Becker Vineyards, also earned medals for the same varietal.

Wine & Travel: Texas Hill Country

The patio of Hye Meadow Winery overlooks a stunning oak grove that can be enjoyed much of the year thanks to the temperate Texas climate. Dan Eierdam

On Hwy 290—dubbed the Wine Road which leads into quaint and friendly Fredericksburg—wine seekers will find an unassuming building containing Hye Meadow Winery. Step inside to savor the stunning oak grove that it overlooks. Chief grape stomper, Mike Batek, exudes true southern hospitality as he pours crisp Trebbiano, unfiltered Rosato, a gamay-style Dolcetto, The Full Monte—a 100 percent montepulciano with vanilla and dark cherry to plum notes—and a spicy Aglianico with gripping tannins.

Wine & Travel: Texas Hill Country

Located in the heart of Fredericksburg is Lost Draw Cellars, co-owned by a fourth generation peanut and cotton farmer. Dan Eierdam

Located in the heart of German-centric Fredericksburg, visitors will find Lost Draw Cellars. One of their Rhône-style whites not only sports a unique name but a unique grape in its blend. Gemutlichkeit, translated loosely, means ‘come together and share good cheer.’ According to tasting room lead, CJ Evans, possibly only 100 acres of picpoul blanc are grown in the U.S., 5 of which are found in Hill Country.

A short drive out of town is worth the effort to experience the wines of Bending Branch. Their lineup includes 100 percent picpoul blanc displaying green apple and racy acidity, charbono with smoky big fruit and chewy tannins and tannat with a chunky nose that finishes smooth. As with the other wineries, warmer weather tempts visitors to linger in the outdoor patio spaces.

Wine & Travel: Texas Hill Country

Proudly waving the Texas flag, Pedernales garnered a Grand Gold for their 2012 Viognier at the 2013 Lyon International Wine Competition. Dan Eierdam

After tasting the delicate tropical fruit notes of their 2015 Albariño and light citrus of the 2015 Vermentino, the 2015 Viognier Reserve continues to prove why Pedernales Cellars was the Grand Gold winner in 2012. Oaked for 15 months, soft white blossoms are followed by toast and dairy characteristics and a melt-in-your-mouth, decadent quality.

Wine & Travel: Texas Hill Country

Surprisingly, port-style wines are quite popular in Texas Hill Country including this Messina Hof 2015 Estate Black Label made with Lenoir. Coconut and chocolate-covered cherry notes follow with a velvety mouth coating and distinct toast from the French oak aging. Dan Eierdam

Grand in scale and production, Messina Hof could be mistaken for a tourist destination but they cater to the aficionado, as well. In fact, owner Paul Mitchel Bonarrigo, is so serious about wine and educating the consumer that he’s invested in WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) certification courses for all his tasting room employees and their level of expertise is refreshing. Messina Hof is proud to be the most awarded winery in Texas.

Wine & Travel: Texas Hill Country

Owner of Spicewood Vineyards and Elway, Ron Yates also possesses a law degree and owns a music company. Here, Elway is on squirrel and deer patrol to protect the 32 estate acres including a rare four acres of sauvignon blanc. Dan

Heading back toward Dallas just off US-281, travelers are in for a treat at Spicewood Vineyards. Owned by Ron Yates (who also possesses a law degree and owns a music company), Spicewood boasts 32 acres of vines and something I was particular delighted to find—four acres of sauvignon blanc, which is rare for the area. Bright acid, lemon/lime, citrus, a slight herbaciousness with grassy notes; it was all there and so easy to imagine as my go-to wine for lazy Texas days.

With over 350 wineries spread throughout eight different AVAs, there’s a lot of ground to cover in Texas. From more familiar varietals such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot and tempranillo to regionally-specific ones like lenoir, blanc du bois, picpoul blanc and tannat, a growing wine scene is just one more excuse to visit the Lone Star state.

Need more? Check out The Treaty House—a craft cocktail cigar bar with a focus on premier wines; The Club at Baron’s Creekside—an indoor/outdoor wine bar with a decidedly European flair thanks to owner, Daniel Meyer who hails from Switzerland; The Cabernet Grill—a wine-centric restaurant located inside the unique lodging compound of Cotton Gin Village; and the Lincoln Street Wine and Cigar Bar, a perfect spot for nibbles, a night cap, live music and a cellar full of wines by the glass (or bottle).

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I am a Clark County native. I am Level 2 WSET (wine and spirit education trust)-certified and enjoy pairing wine with my passion for travel and fondness of food. My most prized possessions are the memories of places I've been with my husband, the chance encounters we've been blessed to have along the way and my carry-on bag. I can often be seen around town and in tasting rooms with our two beautiful, double-Merle Australian shepherds, Challenge and Baby Girl.

Wine & Travel: Texas Hill Country
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Tickets still available for Oregon Chardonnay Celebration

At the 5th Annual Oregon Chardonnay Celebration, winemakers and serious consumers came together to analyze five different chardonnay styles all sourced from Durant Vineyards. Viki Eierdam

Tickets are still available for the 2017 Oregon Chardonnay Celebration. Held at the luxurious Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, Oregon, the 6th Annual event promises to be even more consumer-focused than last year.

The in-depth seminar, held from 1-3 p.m. will be led by Food & Wine magazine’s executive wine editor, Ray Isle. The expert panel consists of Luisa Ponzi from Ponzi Wines, Bob Morous of Phelps Creek Vineyards, Maggie Harrison of Antica Terra, Bryan Wilson from DANCIN Vineyards and Ken Pahlow of Walter Scott.

Attendees are invited to follow along as these chardonnay authorities quip and enlighten us about bringing the reputation of this noble grape back through a reverence of the unique terroir found throughout Oregon. From the Chehalem Mountains to the Columbia Gorge, Eola-Amity and the Rogue AVAs (American Viticultural Area), the soils and microclimates impart from subtle to distinct flavor profiles. Regardless of different winemaking styles, the agreed result is a spectrum from lean, crisp wine with high acidity that makes a refreshing accompaniment to seafood in its youth to wines with some age that show creamier textures and a beautiful round mouth-feel to pair with heavier sauces.

Tickets still available for Oregon Chardonnay Celebration

Held at the Allison Inn & Spa, the Oregon Chardonnay Celebration Grand Tasting is an opportunity for consumers to sample exquisite examples from over 40 Oregon wineries. Viki Eierdam

After this virtual vineyard tour, apply what you’ve learned as you taste over 40 exquisitely-produced Oregon chardonnays at the Grand Tasting from 3-5:30 p.m. Combine your ticket to attend both events or, if time is tight, purchase the Grand Tasting ticket only.

If you’re a wine drinker who swears “I do not like Chardonnay,” this is the event for you. Oregon winemakers will make you a convert and you’ll forget the overly-oaked California style from the days of old in no time.

To make the most of your time in the Valley, why not book a night at The Allison Inn & Spa? Special rates are available for Oregon Chardonnay Celebration guests but you must call ahead to reserve (no special rates with on-line bookings).

**Follow Corks & Forks by clicking the ‘Follow’ button or follow Corks & Forks on Facebook, Twitter @WACorksandForks or Instagram Viki@WACorksandForks.







I am a Clark County native. I am Level 2 WSET (wine and spirit education trust)-certified and enjoy pairing wine with my passion for travel and fondness of food. My most prized possessions are the memories of places I've been with my husband, the chance encounters we've been blessed to have along the way and my carry-on bag. I can often be seen around town and in tasting rooms with our two beautiful, double-Merle Australian shepherds, Challenge and Baby Girl.

Tickets still available for Oregon Chardonnay Celebration
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Four-course family-style dinner with wine pairings, $75

February 14, 2017 – Portland, OR – Quaintrelle will host a February winemaker dinner on Wednesday, February 22 with Darryl Joannides of Viola Wine Cellars.

Join sommelier Matt Hansel and chef de cuisine Bill Wallender for a four-course family-style dinner. The seasonal menu will be paired with Italian-inspired natural wines from Viola Wine Cellars. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $75, including gratuity. For reservations, please call Quaintrelle at 503-200-5787 or purchase tickets online.

Viola Wine Cellars selections include:

2016 Viola Ramato of Pinot Grigio

2015 Viola Bianco d’Allegre (Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato, Pinot Grigio)

2015 Viola Dolcetto d’Allegre

2015 Viola “Dugger Creek Vineyard” Sangiovese

Darryl Joannides has spent the past 20 years immersed in Italian food and wines. Darryl’s first Italian-inspired business was as chef/owner of Assaggio in the Sellwood neighborhood from 1995-2005. Viola Wine Cellars was created in 2002 during harvest when Darryl worked as an intern for Andrew Rich Vintner during the inaugural year of the Carlton Winemaker’s Studio. Viola became a full-time venture in 2012 and today production is located in his garage in NW Portland. The majority of the vineyards used to produce Viola’s wines are located in the Columbia Gorge appellation.

Upcoming winemaker dinners will feature Brianne Day of Day Wines on April 12 and Pam Walden from Willful Wine Company on May 17.

About Quaintrelle: Located in Portland’s bustling N. Mississippi neighborhood, Quaintrelle serves Pacific Northwest inspired cuisine made with passion and intention and works with a range of purveyors to ensure the best seasonally available local ingredients. The restaurant is located at 3936 N. Mississippi Ave. Reservations may be made through OpenTable, or by calling the restaurant at (503) 200-5787 or online at www.quaintrelle.co.

**Follow Corks & Forks by clicking the ‘Follow’ button or follow Corks & Forks on Facebook, Twitter @WACorksandForks or Instagram Viki@WACorksandForks.


I am a Clark County native. I am Level 2 WSET (wine and spirit education trust)-certified and enjoy pairing wine with my passion for travel and fondness of food. My most prized possessions are the memories of places I've been with my husband, the chance encounters we've been blessed to have along the way and my carry-on bag. I can often be seen around town and in tasting rooms with our two beautiful, double-Merle Australian shepherds, Challenge and Baby Girl.

N. Mississippi restaurant features Italian-inspired wine dinner
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Local vintners featuring port-style wines for Valentine’s Weekend

English Estate Winery carries a large line of fortified ‘nectars’—dessert wines made with their own pinot noir brandy distilled by Clear Creek Distillery. Viki Eierdam

Valentine’s weekend is upon us and, with that, wineries will be hosting their annual Chocolate & Wine Pairing festivities from SW Washington to the Yakima Valley, Southern Oregon and beyond.

In honor of the occasion, I tasted several of the port-style treats being crafted by vintners throughout Clark County. Be sure to pick up a bottle or two to enjoy at home with your sweetheart. Keep in mind all prices are for 375 ml size.

English Estate Sweet Ruby Red Pinot Noir Nectar

Only slightly less ABV than traditional port, this is the truest port-style wine offered by English. Made from their own Pinot Noir brandy distilled by Clear Creek Distillery and estate Pinot Noir, showing considerable toast from aged oak barrels and succulent cherry notes. 17.5% ABV, $28.

Other offerings:

Raspberry Delight—When the freezer broke one day, threatening the estate raspberries that Gail English had harvested for canning, Carl Sr. quickly found a way to preserve the just-picked freshness. He nailed it! Excellent for sparkling spritzers or as a sauce over cheesecake. 17% ABV, $49.

Sugar Plum—At the heart of this nectar with baking spice on the palate are the juicy plums found on the homestead. 17% ABV, $39.

Sweet Autumn Gold—A combination of estate pinot noir juice and their own pinot noir brandy, light oak lends coconut to the finish. Versatile paired with blue cheese or crème brûlée.  16.5%, $28.

Local vintners featuring port-style wines for Valentine’s Weekend

Not only does it hit the palate just right, the label of the Gougér Cellars Mine, Mine Mine took an International Double Gold Medal for Design at the 2010 San Francisco International Wine Competition. Viki Eierdam

Gougér Cellars Mine, Mine, Mine

Sweet enough to be paired with desserts but not so much that it can’t be enjoyed alone, aged brandy is employed to add complexity to this blend of syrah, zinfandel merlot and muscat of Alexandria (an ancient vine with an impressive lineage). 18% ABV, $22.

Mine, Mine, Mine Chocolate—This wine captures the essence of chocolate in a bottle with a lush weight that romances the palate. Popular for pairing with high-end chocolates. 18% ABV, $22.


Local vintners featuring port-style wines for Valentine’s Weekend

Hints of white blossom from apple to honeysuckle draw you into Koi Pond Cellars Elle’s Crème Brûlée. Photo provided.

Koi Pond Cellars Elle’s Crème Brûlée

Hints of white blossom from apple to honeysuckle draw you in. Hot on the front with hazelnut and a bit of coffee mid palate with a caramel finish and whisper of chocolate, this white port-style wine delivers something from beginning to end. Warm and soothing. 16% ABV, $35


Local vintners featuring port-style wines for Valentine’s Weekend

Moulton Falls Winery collaborated with Yacolt Valley Vineyard to create this port-style dessert wine. Viki Eierdam

Moulton Falls Winery NV Yacolt Valley Vineyard Port-Style Dessert Wine

Made from deep, rich Red Mountain syrah and fortified with Yacolt Valley Vineyard Pinot Noir, then distilled to brandy locally at Double V Distillery. This syrah brings out a deep cherry flavor reminiscent of candied cherries followed by a silky, dark fruit finish. 19.5% ABV, $28


Local vintners featuring port-style wines for Valentine’s Weekend

The complexity of Daybreak Cellars Tempranillo Dessert Wine is a result of a blend of four beautiful vintages. Viki Eierdam

Rezabek Vineyards Daybreak Cellars Tempranillo Dessert Wine 

With a port-range ABV and grape composition including tempranillo (aka tinta roriz), touriga nacional and a scant amount of tinta cão, this may be the closest port-style wine being made in Clark County. Baking spice aromas follow with big juicy cherry notes on the palate, a swirl of chocolate and coconut notes on the finish. 19.5% ABV, $18


Local vintners featuring port-style wines for Valentine’s Weekend

Rusty Grape Vineyards 2010 Vino de Ciocolotto is the perfect pairing of wine and chocolate. Viki Eierdam

Rusty Grape Vineyards 2010 Vino de Ciocolotto

This syrah-based treat is the perfect pairing of wine and chocolate. Retaining its higher tannin quality, the warm nose teases your palate with notes of cocoa nib and brandy while the mouth feel is full and velvety. Pair with dried fruits like figs, plums and apricots or a nut cake.18% ABV, $32

Other notable dessert-style wines:

Bethany Vineyards

Emanar Cellars

Heisen House Vineyards

Olequa Cellars

Pomeroy Cellars

Three Brothers Winery 

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I am a Clark County native. I am Level 2 WSET (wine and spirit education trust)-certified and enjoy pairing wine with my passion for travel and fondness of food. My most prized possessions are the memories of places I've been with my husband, the chance encounters we've been blessed to have along the way and my carry-on bag. I can often be seen around town and in tasting rooms with our two beautiful, double-Merle Australian shepherds, Challenge and Baby Girl.

Local vintners featuring port-style wines for Valentine’s Weekend
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NW Wineries make Wine Spectator cover storyHave you caught the January/February issue of Wine Spectator yet? Two Oregon wineries—Ayoub and Bethel Heights—and two Washington Wineries—Novelty Hill/Januik and Sparkman Cellars—are featured in the cover story: 30 Wineries to Discover.

The wineries are noted for consistently delivering high-quality wines. Ayoub crafts eight small-production wines that I can say from personal experience deliver all the power, elegance and depth we’ve come to expect from the Willamette Valley.

NW Wineries make Wine Spectator cover story

Mo Ayoub pouring at the recent Pinot in the City in Dallas, TX. Dan Eierdam

It’s all in the family at Bethel Heights where cousins, Ben and Mimi Casteel, are carrying on the first generation’s legacy. Slightly more fruit-forward than Burgundian pinot noirs, their offerings deliver consistent layers to ponder.

Sourcing from Red Mountain, Wahluke Slope and even more affordable releases throughout the Columbia Valley, Mike Januik took a wealth of knowledge with him when he left Chateau Ste. Michelle nearly two decades ago. Now crafting wines for Novelty Hill and his own label, Januik, here is a man who has certainly hit his stride.

NW Wineries make Wine Spectator cover story

Photo supplied

An $18 bottle of riesling from an esteemed producer is nearly unheard of in this day and age. Along with other bright whites, Sparkman Cellars sources quality fruit from top-rated vineyards throughout Washington State to grace their firm yet approachable reds.

Read all about these NW Wineries to Discover in the latest issue of Wine Spectator, on newsstands now.

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I am a Clark County native. I am Level 2 WSET (wine and spirit education trust)-certified and enjoy pairing wine with my passion for travel and fondness of food. My most prized possessions are the memories of places I've been with my husband, the chance encounters we've been blessed to have along the way and my carry-on bag. I can often be seen around town and in tasting rooms with our two beautiful, double-Merle Australian shepherds, Challenge and Baby Girl.

NW Wineries make Wine Spectator cover story
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Gary Gouger with hie new tank

Gougér Cellars of Ridgefield is the first winery in Clark County to have a high pressure tank made specifically for producing sparkling wines. The tank was custom made in Italy and took over 6 months to receive. The tank will enable Gouger Cellars to expand their sparkling wine offerings which already include a Sparkling Rose and Sparkling Pinot Noir.

Gougér Cellars was established in 2009 and produces premium international awarded wines from grapes sourced from two states. Winemaker, Gary Gougér, enologist (winemaker) graduated from the University of Adelaide, Australia, and is known for sparkling and bold red wines such as Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sparkling Rosé and Sparkling Pinot Noir.


Gougér Cellars is at 26505 NE 10th in Ridgefield.

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Clark College hosts Food Summit this FridayA daylong discussion about the region’s food ecosystem and the college’s role in its future 

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Clark College will be hosting “Growing Our Future” on Friday, February 10, to explore issues within the local food system and possibilities for new curriculum at the college to support this region’s food-producing industries.

The daylong event, which is made possible with support from the Clark County Food System Council, will feature speakers from local businesses and organizations like Heathen Brewing, Lapellah, Ecotrust, and the Washington State Department of Agriculture, as well as Clark College faculty. Together, attendees will explore concepts like the future of farming and the challenges of trying to use local ingredients in commercial enterprises. In between workshops and speakers, participants will enjoy a “locavore lunch” and “talking and tasting café.”

“Our goal in hosting this event is twofold,” said Vice President of Instruction Dr. Tim Cook. “First, we want to provide an opportunity for our growing community of food providers to discuss the issues confronting their industry right now. Second, the college wants to investigate the ways we can help support that industry, whether it’s by providing specialized training or potentially even creating a new Ecology and Agronomy program.”

The event, which runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., will be held at Clark College at Columbia Tech Center, 18700 Mill Plain Blvd. Driving directions and parking maps are available here. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased, cash only, at the door. For more details about the event, click this link. 

About Clark College

Located in Vancouver’s Central Park and serving up to 13,000 students per quarter, Clark College is Washington State’s second-largest single-campus, for-credit community college. The college currently offers classes at two satellite locations: one on the Washington State University Vancouver campus and one in the Columbia Tech Center in East Vancouver. Additionally, its Economic & Community Development program is housed in the Columbia Bank building in downtown Vancouver.

Disclaimer: This is a reprint of Clark College’s press release

**Follow Corks & Forks by clicking the ‘Follow’ button or follow Corks & Forks on Facebook, Twitter @WACorksandForks or Instagram Viki@WACorksandForks.


I am a Clark County native. I am Level 2 WSET (wine and spirit education trust)-certified and enjoy pairing wine with my passion for travel and fondness of food. My most prized possessions are the memories of places I've been with my husband, the chance encounters we've been blessed to have along the way and my carry-on bag. I can often be seen around town and in tasting rooms with our two beautiful, double-Merle Australian shepherds, Challenge and Baby Girl.

Clark College hosts Food Summit this Friday
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Burnt Bridge Cellars rolls out Thursday Happy Hour

Photo provided

Burnt Bridge Cellars, Vancouver’s only urban winery, rolled out their first Thursday Happy Hour back on January 26.

You asked and they answered. In response to numerous requests, Burnt Bridge will now be open from 4-9 p.m. every Thursday and extend discounted glass pours, to boot.

Opening in November of 2010, Burnt Bridge started with Saturday and Sunday hours. Friday evening hours were added in 2015. Coupled with the talents of Chef Kim Mahan from Class Cooking (located next door), Burnt Bridge is always offering something new and exciting for its growing fan base including Blind Tasting events, food and wine pairings and scheduled live music.

Burnt Bridge Cellars rolls out Thursday Happy Hour

Photo provided

When not showcasing sumptuous nibbles designed to pair with their deep and elegant offerings, visitors can order a calzone or pizza from Vancouver Pizza Company to be delivered to the tasting room.

Make plans to join the team at Burnt Bridge Cellars soon and support their new Thursday hours.

**Follow Corks & Forks by clicking the ‘Follow’ button or follow Corks & Forks on Facebook, Twitter @WACorksandForks or Instagram Viki@WACorksandForks.


I am a Clark County native. I am Level 2 WSET (wine and spirit education trust)-certified and enjoy pairing wine with my passion for travel and fondness of food. My most prized possessions are the memories of places I've been with my husband, the chance encounters we've been blessed to have along the way and my carry-on bag. I can often be seen around town and in tasting rooms with our two beautiful, double-Merle Australian shepherds, Challenge and Baby Girl.

Burnt Bridge Cellars rolls out Thursday Happy Hour
96930reunited-and-it-feels-so-good-black-coffee-and-delish-dairy-free-creamer-13 http://blogs.columbian.com/sated-sensitive/reunited-black-coffee-delish-dairy-free-creamer/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/01/IMG_7015-1024x742-600x434.jpg

Many years ago when I transitioned to dairy free living, I sadly gave up my coffee creamer.  Having served in the U.S. Marine Corps it should have been an easy transition back to black coffee (lol!) but it wasn’t.

Over time, I got used to a new way of dairy free healthy living.  If the coffee place was cool and it wasn’t too busy I’d be brave to order a cubano espresso (where the barista adds a 1/2 packet of raw sugar on top of the ground coffee in the portofilter).  Super yummy!  But most times, if the place was jammed I’d order just a plain americano with no room.  Black coffee became my norm – but I still missed my creamer from time to time.

I have experimented with many dairy free milk alternatives when I owned and operated an Airstream Cafe which served up small batch artisan drinks, eats and treats.  (I was so ahead of my time!!…). Here’s what I found using cappuccinos as the benchmark:

Almond Milk

Soy Milk – Comparable to dairy in every way especially the microfoam department.  Pretty tasty. If you’re soy free – nevermind. It is commonplace to see this in most coffee places but quickly being replaced by almond milk.

Hemp Milk has a nutty light consistency.  It steams up nicely but loses it’s texture super fast. I don’t really see this at most coffee houses.

Coconut milk has a super water consistency very hard to make long lasting dreamy microfoam.  Hard to make microfoam.

It’s nice to have a splurge coffee out in town but who can afford it these days?!  $3.00+ for a latte.  I save that for a special occasions.  As far as what I use at home… again I mostly drink black good quality micro roasted coffee.

Then I saw this product!  I was walking through New Seasons Market Fishers Landing just this past weekend and this beauty Califia Farms DAIRY FREE BETTER HALF UNSWEETENED COCONUT CREAM & ALMOND MILK caught my eye in the dairy aisle.  It is the first creamer in along time that spoke to me – into the cart it went to give it a try! I just love New Season’s for all the wonderful food sensitive products they offer!

REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD – Black Coffee and Delish Dairy Free Creamer Ingredients:  Almond milk, coconut cream, natural flavors, calcium carbonate, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, potassium citrate, locust bean gum, gellan gum.

Nutrition Facts:  Only 15 calories per 2 TBS.  Total fat 1.5 g.  Sodium 30 mg.  Sugars 0.
REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD – Black Coffee and Delish Dairy Free Creamer

Nutritionist Denise Hays Review:

Sated Sensitive Denise Hays Review:  Nice taste.  Nice texture.  No bitter aftertaste.  Yes ~ it does smell like coconut.  It was on special at New Season’s –  priced (I recall) at either $3.99 or $4.99 for the pint carton.  That’s 16 servings at $4.99 which equates to $0.31 cents per cup of coffee.  On their website the 16.9 fl oz product is listed at $8.99.  Wowza!  I would definitely purchase again as a nice treat for my black coffee every once in a while.
REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD – Black Coffee and Delish Dairy Free Creamer

If you give this product a try let me know what your thoughts are!

#dairyfree #dairyfreelife #dairyfreeliving #glutenfreedairyfree #godairyfree #sodeliciousdairyfree #glutenanddairyfree #dairyfreelunch #dairyfreeproducts #dairyfreenom #dairyfree4good #becausesomeladiesareglutendairyfree #dairyfreediet #dairyfreefood #dairyfreeeaster #dairyfreedelicious #healthyliving #satedsensitive #foodsensitivities #foodallergies #foodallergy #readthelabel #labeling #nutrition #coconutcream #almondmilk #califiafarms

Denise Hays

Welcome to Sated Sensitive. My name is Denise. Furry momma to 1 dog and 1 cat (^._.^)ノ . Married lucky 13 years to Mr. Fantabulous. We love Clark County! I have food sensitivities to dairy, gluten, peanuts, and soy. I am now fully embracing the "right" foods to nourish my body. I'll be sharing ideas for healthy living tips for us sensitive food enthusiasts. Thanks for visiting!

REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD – Black Coffee and Delish Dairy Free Creamer
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Clark County transplant managing balancing act with wine and family

At Portland’s SE Wine Collective, Pam Walden crafts her Willful label employing naked fermentation to bring out the truest sense of the vineyard and vintage. Photo provided

After years of following, Pam Walden, owner/winemaker of Willful Wine Company, is leading and her graceful confidence is contagious.

A relative newcomer to Vancouver, Washington, Clark County wasn’t specifically on her radar. When I asked her how she ended up on the North Bank, her response was honest and unapologetic.

“Some guy,” she laughed. “I ended up in Nepal because of a guy. I ended up in winemaking because of a guy. It’s as good of a reason as any.”

Clark County transplant managing balancing act with wine and family

With her tenacious nature, Northwest vintner Pam Walden embodies the name of her wine label—Willful Wine Company. Photo provided

This simple philosophy translates to her winemaking style. At Portland’s SE Wine Collective, she crafts her Willful label employing naked fermentation (not adding yeast) to bring out the truest sense of the vineyard and vintage. Her efforts to make her own way are being noticed. Prince of Pinot gave her 2014 Willful Winemaker Cuvée Pinot Noir 92 points and Wine Enthusiast came through at 90. This 100 percent Pommard clone wine captures what Walden strives for in pinot noir.

“Pinot noir is often described as being a woman. It should be more elegant and feminine not chunky and monstrous. I’ll leave that for cab; be as big as you want. A winemaker should play to a grape’s sense,” Walden said. “I want something that’s interesting that I can think about that’s lush and sexy and stuff.”

For this single mother of two, winemaking wasn’t in her game plan until that guy came along. After their amicable split in 2009 and his subsequent death in 2013, Walden went through some soul searching to come to where she is now.

With her engaging English accent (born and raised in Leicester, England), she explained “I don’t think I would have taken on the challenge to make wine and take over the vineyard. It’s easy to sort of rise to the occasion and make it work but at some point you get over that and think ‘Is this mine? Is this something I really want to do?’ as opposed to just reacting to circumstances.”

Clark County transplant managing balancing act with wine and family

In 2013 Pam Walden sold her 17 acre vineyard site in Dundee and now crafts her Willful Wine label out of SE Wine Collective and Jezebel from Eugene Wine Cellars. Photo provided

Fortunately for her growing fan base, she embraced her situation and embodies the name of her wine label. Her early years in the winemaking industry with then-husband, Aron Hess, helped her gain an appreciation for his favoring of Pommard and employment of pre-fermentation cold soaking to extract fine grain tannins. She has since arrived at her own style which is a balance of ageability and a wine that is pleasurable to drink upon release.

Walden has also simplified her home life in an effort to maintain as much balance with it as she does with her wines. Shortly after Hess’s death, she sold their 17 acre site in Dundee and is content with her current 4,500 case production which includes her second label, Jezebel—an easy-going and fruit forward line using grapes sourced from both Southern Oregon and the Willamette Valley. This set up affords her the time to homeschool her 10 and 13 year-old sons, Cato and Samson.

“My priority really is my kids. While I’d like to have my own winery space, I like the flexibility to be with my kids. My dad was the same. He had his own business and was there for us. I wanted to give my kids the same; that kind of drives most of my decisions.”

**Follow Corks & Forks by clicking the ‘Follow’ button or follow Corks & Forks on Facebook, Twitter @WACorksandForks or Instagram Viki@WACorksandForks.





I am a Clark County native. I am Level 2 WSET (wine and spirit education trust)-certified and enjoy pairing wine with my passion for travel and fondness of food. My most prized possessions are the memories of places I've been with my husband, the chance encounters we've been blessed to have along the way and my carry-on bag. I can often be seen around town and in tasting rooms with our two beautiful, double-Merle Australian shepherds, Challenge and Baby Girl.

Clark County transplant managing balancing act with wine and family
73938its-tea-time-herbal-tea-healthy-living-benefits http://blogs.columbian.com/sated-sensitive/its-tea-time-herbal-tea-healthy-living-benefits/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/01/herbal-teas.jpg

It’s TEA time ~ Herbal Tea Healthy Living Benefits For centuries, people in every culture have used herbs and spices to enhance the taste of food and drink as well as to support, protect and heal their bodies. Passed from generation to generation, the wealth of information about the healing powers of herbs and spices for our physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual selves continues to hold true today. One way to enjoy the health benefits of herbs and spices is by drinking herbal tea. Herbal teas or tisane (pronounced “tea-ZAHN) is an infusion of herbs, spices, leaves, flowers, fruits, berries, seeds, bark or roots. The plant constituents from this infusion is extracted in hot water and then enjoyed as a beverage either hot or cold. In drinking well-steeped herbal tea, we receive all the plant’s benefits to help heal and protect our bodies in an easily digestible form. What are some of the health benefits of drinking herbal tea?

It’s TEA time ~ Herbal Tea Healthy Living Benefits

314 NE 314th Ave Battle Ground WA

Did you know there is a wonderful bulk herbs, teas and tinctures place in Battle Ground called the BG Apothecary located at 314 NE 1st Ave, Battle Ground, WA 98604.  BG Apothecary stocks so many wonderful proprietary house blend herbal teas. A few of our offerings include:

With well over 1,000 herbal tea recipes, Diana would be happy to help blend a special offering just for you. Just last week I helped mix up a small batch of Nerves tea with passion flower, skullcap, chamomile, lavender plus a few other goodies.  Sure could use some of that with all the wonderful exciting weather! It’s TEA time ~ Herbal Tea Healthy Living Benefits Sated Sensitive Denise Hays recommends enjoying the health benefits of herbal tea by incorporating these delicious beverages into your diet on a more regular basis. Moderation is key with any food or drink. So go ahead ~ brew up some delightful herbal tea today. There are so many BG Apothecary herbal tea blends to chose from – my favorite is a special one Diana made up for me it’s a blend of Immuni-Tea with just the right amount of rosemary for that cognitive pick me up! I’m onsite at BG Apothecary most Thursdays from 1:15 to 4:30 – come on in I’d love to meet you! Let’s talk about healthy living, nutrition, yoga, wellness or ? Have a great day!  Namaste,  Denise It’s TEA time ~ Herbal Tea Healthy Living Benefits

Denise Hays

Welcome to Sated Sensitive. My name is Denise. Furry momma to 1 dog and 1 cat (^._.^)ノ . Married lucky 13 years to Mr. Fantabulous. We love Clark County! I have food sensitivities to dairy, gluten, peanuts, and soy. I am now fully embracing the "right" foods to nourish my body. I'll be sharing ideas for healthy living tips for us sensitive food enthusiasts. Thanks for visiting!

It’s TEA time ~ Herbal Tea Healthy Living Benefits
73911how-many-in-clark-county-come-from-countries-on-banned-list http://blogs.columbian.com/digital-desk/2017/01/30/how-many-in-clark-county-come-from-banned-list/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/01/sevenbannednations-560x460.png
How many in Clark County come from countries on Trump’s list?

Source: JayCoop, Commons, Wikimedia.

Many airports remained embroiled in protests today after President Donald Trump on Friday issued a temporary order to turn away travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. That list includes: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya.

How many people in Clark County were born in those seven countries? The answer is close to 500 but there’s a couple of caveats. First, the data is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey’s 5-year estimates and, as with any survey based on sample sizes, there’s what we call margin for error. And second, the ACS data doesn’t drill down far enough in this county to get numbers for some countries.

But here is what we know. According to the 2015 ACS, an estimated 423 from Iran, 11 from Iraq, 65 from Syria, 0 from Yemen and Somalia and 12 from Sudan. Libya is not on the list but the data does show 16 from other North Africa, including Libya, Tunisia and Algeria and possibly others (I did not see a list of those countries in Northern Africa but took an educated guess based on geography).

Now, let’s talk about that margin of error, which is kind of big for these estimates. For example, the margin of error on people here from Iran is +/- 193 of the total estimated 423, so there could be as little as 230 here from Iran or as high as 616. I’ll let you decide what to believe and at the same time, here’s the margin of error on the other 6 countries: Iraq (+/-17), Syria (+/-64), Yemen (+/-28), Somalia (+/-28) and Other Northern Africa (+/-17).

Here’s how that stacks up with 2010 ACS data: about 391 from Iran (+/-211), 37 from Iraq (+/-39), 8 from Syria (+/-12), 0 from Yemen (+/-123), 0 from Sudan (+/-123), 132 from Other Eastern Africa which would include Somalia (+/-89) and 27 from Other Northern Africa which would include Libya (+/-44).

If we assume the margin of error is nonexistent, it appears the Iranian population here is the largest of the seven banned nationalities and it has slighly increased, and the number of Iraqis in this county has nearly doubled.

How does that stack up against the foreign-born population here? ACS data from 2015 shows that about 44,711 people in this county are foreign-born, or about 10 percent of the total estimated population of 444,506. Of those, an estimated 21,735 or 48.6 percent are not U.S. citizens.

Interestingly, it appears in Clark County at least that more foreign-born residents are becoming naturalized citizens. ACS data in 2010 shows that about 10 percent of the population was foreign-born but about 23,130 foreign-born people in Clark County or about 55 percent were not U.S. citizens while about 18,830 or 45 percent were naturalized citizens.

Go back farther to 2000 and census data shows about an estimated 29,357 of the county’s 345,238 residents or 8.5 percent were foreign-born. Of those, about 10,146 or 34.6 percent were naturalized citizens while 19,211 or 65.4 percent were not citizens.

In 2015, the bulk of the foreign-born naturalized citizens came from Asia (10,340 or 45 percent) and Europe (8,016 or 34.8 percent). Of those who were not citizens, an estimated 9,066 or 41.7 percent came from Latin America, 6,136 or 28.2 percent from Europe and 4,510 or 20.7 percent from Asia.

John Hill

John is the web and photo editor at The Columbian, where he has worked since 1995 in various roles. A journalist for the past 25 years, he's a fan of good storytelling, data, graphics and still likes to read an actual newspaper. Twitter: @hilljohng

How many in Clark County come from countries on Trump’s list?
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The snow storm that hit Tuesday evening was the largest we’ve had in several years.   It left a foot of snow on the ground in the Ridgefield area, closed schools and public offices, and with the continued cold will likely last until midweek next week.

The photo above is of a robin eating fruits from a tree on Pioneer Street.  These fruits have been available for several months and are only now being eaten.  It suggests that they are only being eaten because the birds have little choice.

It’s the same thing with berries on holly trees.  During prolonged periods of cold with snow on the ground some holly bushes in Ridgefield have been stripped of their berries.  The fruits may not have the nutritional value that more available foods may have.

Fruits remaining on trees can ferment after the first frost and become toxic.   Deep snow means a challenge to wildlife that cannot forage for food on the ground.  Robins eat fruit but also worms, insects, and spiders. Robins don’t feed from bird feeders but will take food scattered on the ground.   The Audubon society recommends putting out foods such as chopped apples, grapes, and raisins.  They will take meal worms that can be purchased in pet stores as well.

Since the deep snow and cold are going to last for a time, it makes sense to help wildlife by putting out food for them.  Scott and Kathy Hughes have food for birds and squirrels at the hardware store and Petco has mealworms.  Robins and other birds need a water source to drink and bathe so if it’s not too cold a birdbath can provide water.  An upside down garbage can lid filled with water works as temporary birdbath.

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A Refreshed Healthy Living Path for 2017

Happy 2017 – celebrating with vegetables and fruits for a refreshed new year


With the first few days of 2017 under our belts and the unusual weather pattern of more snow and ice…It’s that time of year when we typically go inward to assess last years performance – and chart a refreshed healthy living path for the new year.

Looking back over last year, using the measures of very good, good, and fair – what grade would you give yourself for achieving your health goals in 2016? Using the table below select the most relevant grade. Be honest with yourself. Whatever report card you give yourself try to do it from a loving place without judgment. It’s just a starting point to explore what behaviors worked and what didn’t work for you last year.

Very Good Most of the time I consume healthy foods & exercise frequently
Good Often I consume healthy foods and sometimes I exercise
Fair Some of the time I consume healthy foods and I exercise when it suits me

Whether you gave yourself very good, good or fair rating – guess what? 2017 you can refine or make changes with a refreshed healthy living path going forward. YOU GOT THIS!

Check back here at the beginning of each month, I will recommend a practical step for you to consider implementing in your life for a healthier you. Follow these steps each month and by the end of 2017 you’ll be well on your way to a healthier you.

First Steps to a healthy January:  Bump up your daily water intake to six to eight 8 oz of water per day. Yup that’s 48 to 64 oz of water a day.

Frequently asked questions:

1)    May I include coffee and tea? Absolutely!  Caffeinated beverage are made primarily of water so it’s okay to include these in your daily requirement however try to limit to 2 glasses a day of your overall daily water intake. Plus 4+ cups of coffee per day is not really a good thing – can make you very jittery and anxious.

2)    I’m not a fan of straight water - may I include lemon? Sure!  Water and lemon is a great refreshing combo. Another way to add flavoring is to stop on in to BG Apothecary (located at 314 NE 1st Ave, Battle Ground, WA) for a special tincture. I personally use one – I add a dropper full of a special mix of sweet fennel and peppermint – it boosts the flavor of water and it helps reduce gas.

3)    Do I need to start drinking 64 oz right away? No – just add one additional 8 oz glass of water a day per week until you get to 6 – 8 cups a day.

Why do we need to pay attention to hydration? Water is an essential component to lubricating our joints, keeping our skin supple, helping to eliminate waste and helping to reduce caloric intake while increasing our fullness after a meal. If we are dehydrated we have less blood in our bodies, forcing the heart to pump harder to deliver oxygen cells to our muscles. Increased water intake reduces dizziness, clumsiness, irritability and headaches too. So drink up!

As we walk our refreshed path to healthy together – I’m starting to hum a familiar Lesley Gore “It’s my party” song… only with new words. It’s my healthy party… I can try if I want to… try if I want to …. Try if I want to!

Need an in person pick me up – no problem – I am onsite most Thursdays starting at 1 PM at BG Apothecary located at 314 NE 1st Ave, Battle Ground, WA for a visit.  I would be happy to chat with you about your 2017 healthier you goals and any holistic healing, nutrition, fitness or wellness topics of your choice.

Check out BG Apothecary at www.bgapothecary.com

Be well!  Hope to see you soon!

Denise Hays


Denise Hays

Welcome to Sated Sensitive. My name is Denise. Furry momma to 1 dog and 1 cat (^._.^)ノ . Married lucky 13 years to Mr. Fantabulous. We love Clark County! I have food sensitivities to dairy, gluten, peanuts, and soy. I am now fully embracing the "right" foods to nourish my body. I'll be sharing ideas for healthy living tips for us sensitive food enthusiasts. Thanks for visiting!

A Refreshed Healthy Living Path for 2017
99749gluck-making-the-most-of-the-much-maligned-melano-9 http://blogs.columbian.com/portland-timbers/2017/01/04/gluck-making-the-most-of-the-much-maligned-melano/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Isolated-Lucas-Melano-1024x858-548x460.jpg

For most, the hot topic/question for the Timbers is… What to do about Luca?  

For me, it’s certainly a short-term concern, but I’d submit there’s a longer term question that still needs to be answered that far outweighs what to do about Luca.

To explain, if you will.

The Timbers have seen the trees through the weeds and first asked themselves this offseason:  Was the poor performance – for the whole team – a cause or effect of something more pear-shaped?

Gluck – Making the Most of the Much Maligned Melano

Gluck – Making the Most of the Much Maligned Melano

In summary, give or take, the Timbers have had roughly 90 player acquisitions with just ten showing great consistency of purpose and what I’d offer is a willingness to bleed Timber-Green.

Statistically speaking, that’s just over 10% success in seeing previous player scouting and recruitment activities over the last four years.

Meaning, for me, the most pressing question is:  Have the Timbers made a good decision by hiring Ned Grabavoy as the Director of Scouting and Recruitment?

That offered…  Back to square one:  Making the most of the much maligned Melano and looking to answer the question – should the Timbers retain the services of Lucas Melano?

Team results – the bottom line on how success or failure is measured:

Individual statistical assessment – a supporting tool, when weighted properly, in player scouting and recruitment:

Individual Observation – a critical assessment tool in player scouting and recruitment:

Porter indicated the club is in the market for wingers that “help us execute our style of play. We want to press and if the wingers don’t press then it doesn’t work.” In the same interview with Paul Tenorio, Porter indicates the club is still evaluating whether F Lucas Melano is a long-term fit.

Gluck – Making the Most of the Much Maligned Melano


So what’s the skinny on how Lucas Melano will “help us execute our style of play…”?

Lucas Melano needs to improve his first touch.  Porter likes to see his team move the ball quickly, especially during a counter-attack.  And if precision in ball movement is needed so to is a great first touch.  Until he improves his first touch I don’t see Melano helping his team execute Porter’s style of play.

Furthermore, Lucas needs to up his mentality on the pitch.  The idea that someone can be observed, and labeled, as a ball-watcher (who appears disengaged) usually means that player doesn’t have the right mentality to succeed.  When looking at that first list of players I offered earlier – all of them have a great mentality… in the words of a friend of mine – they look to bleed for the organization; Lucas doesn’t.

So what about a tactical shift to try and use Lucas a different way on the pitch?  Perhaps move him up above Diego Valeri – a false 10 if you will?

A shift in tactical team alignment might work but is the juice worth the squeeze?

Tactically the Timbers could shift and play a more narrow formation – say a Diamond 4-4-2.  They certainly have the players for a formation like that.  There’d be Adi up top – with Lucas playing off Adi.

At the head of the diamond you’d have Diego Valeri while David Guzman would play the base of the diamond.  To the left – playing narrow – would be Darlington Nagbe, and to the right, also playing narrow, would be Diego Chara.

With a formation like this your width comes from the fullbacks while Melano’s main tactics would include running lateral to the back-four, dropping deeper into the midfield as a connector, while purposefully trying to make and create space for himself and others across the width of the pitch.

The challenge here, however, remains the same.  To play a false 10 a player needs to have a great first touch – and – they also need to be 100% engaged (both on and off the ball) in order to maximize team opportunities.

If Lucas Melano isn’t in a position to improve his first touch, nor does he show a capacity for a stronger mentality on the pitch, then all Porter has done is shifted his problem from the wings to the middle.

Is the writing already on the wall?

In an article on Dec. 27, Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep reported that the Timbers are in the market for a Designated Player winger to replace Lucas Melano, who is drawing the interest of clubs in his native Argentina.

One source tells Goal USA that the Timbers are in the process of trying to sign a designated player to play as a wing midfielder, an addition that would help offset the expected departure of Argentine midfielder Lucas Melano, who the Timbers are preparing to unload after a disappointing two seasons in Portland. Multiple Argentinean clubs in the market for Melano’s services.

In that same article, news was offered that Rodney Wallace may be returning to the Timbers.  Here’s a direct quote on that topic as well:

Another player who could make his way to the Timbers is former longtime Portland midfielder Rodney Wallace. A key figure on the Timbers’ MLS Cup-winning team in 2015, Wallace is currently playing for Brazilian side Sport Club do Recife. The Costa Rican international told Goal USA last month that he would be open to a return to the Timbers, though he remains under contract in Brazil and would have to resolve that in order to pave the way for a return to the Timbers.

In conclusion:

The Portland Timbers need players and a system to compliment Diego Valeri, not Lucas Melano.

Gluck – Making the Most of the Much Maligned Melano

And while the speed Lucas offers, adds value, I’d submit there’s too many to-do’s for Lucas to continue playing in Portland.  The bigger question, however, still remains.  Can the Portland Timbers improve their overall player scouting and recruitment enough to where they don’t find themselves in a position like this next year?

What are your thoughts?

Best, Chris

COPYRIGHT – All Rights Reserved.  PWP – Trademark

Chris Gluck

I have been covering the Portland Timbers and Major League Soccer, as a community blogger/analyst for the Columbian Newspaper, since June, 2012. Since then my involvement in soccer analysis has expanded to include participating in the Regional Emmy Award Winning Soccer City PDX TV Show (Comcast Sports Northwest). My unique analytical approach has been published in Europe and presented at the World Conference on Science and Soccer 2014. I also appear regularly as a co-host on Rose City Soccer Show and the Yellowcarded Podcast. You can find my work on PossessionwithPurpose.com, PTFC Collective and Prost Amerika.

Gluck – Making the Most of the Much Maligned Melano
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Every year the media trots out Top 10 and Best of lists as the year draws to a close and we are not stranger to this trend. Earlier this week, we provided a list of the top 10 local stories of 2016 selected by the newsroom and by the readers, as well as the 10 stories on columbian.com with the most pageviews and a list of our favorite photos chosen by the photo staff.

But just in case that’s not enough for you, I thought I’d dig back through our Facebook data to pull out a list of our 10 most popular Facebook posts, so here goes:

1) A family returns Hunter, an adopted dog, to the Humane Society so the animal can go home to his owner, firefighter William Jones. This story went viral, gaining coverage as far away as Europe. It  was also the second most viewed story on columbian.com with 79,270 pageviews. According to Facebook, the total reach of this story exceeded that of any story we’ve ever shared on social media with about 523,313 people reportedly seeing this post in their feeds. (Below we’ll simply add the total reach to the end of each item.)

2) Mathew Rios administers CPR and saves a woman’s life at Costco: 131,599.

3) Evergreen Public Schools announces it’s changing the start time for high schoolers next year: 118,138.

4) PeaceHealth uses music in neonatal care to help infants with feeding and pain management: 95,945.

5) Live video the morning of Bernie Sanders’ visit to Vancouver: 95,491.

6) The Ilani casino plans to hold a job fair and hire up to 1,000 people: 88,805.

7) Value Village will close its doors in November: 86,297.

8) Vancouver get its own Hopworks: 82,598.

9) We publish our annual map showing where to see homes lit up with holiday lights: 80,369.

10) The body of a naked man is found early one morning inside a Chinese restaurant: 74,391. (This story was the 4th most viewed story on columbian.com with 42,074 pageviews.)


John Hill

John is the web and photo editor at The Columbian, where he has worked since 1995 in various roles. A journalist for the past 25 years, he's a fan of good storytelling, data, graphics and still likes to read an actual newspaper. Twitter: @hilljohng

A look at our most popular Facebook posts
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Over the last four years I’ve conducted research on various professional soccer leagues and competitions.  To include Major League Soccer, the English, German, and Spanish Premier Leagues, as well as the UEFA Champions League and the Men’s World Cup of 2014.

Here’s my latest analyses on how the Possession with Purpose Index can be used to predict which teams will make the playoffs, qualify for the UEFA Champions League, or make the semi-finals of the World Cup..

Before beginning here’s a rerun on a few important items of interest about Possession with Purpose:

Intent:  Develop a simplified, strategic set of performance indicators to better understand the outcome of a game based upon primary inputs.

End State:

Key events to date:

Major League Soccer 2013 – The Maiden Year for PWP:

Gluck – Predicting Team Standings in Professional Soccer

English Premier League 2014:

Gluck – Predicting Team Standings in Professional Soccer

Germany Premier League 2014:

Gluck – Predicting Team Standings in Professional Soccer

Spanish Premier League 2014:

Gluck – Predicting Team Standings in Professional Soccer

UEFA Champions League 2014:

Gluck – Predicting Team Standings in Professional Soccer

Men’s World Cup 2014:

Gluck – Predicting Team Standings in Professional Soccer

Side note about the Men’s World Cup:

Major League Soccer 2014:

Gluck – Predicting Team Standings in Professional Soccer

Major League Soccer 2015:

Gluck – Predicting Team Standings in Professional Soccer

Major League Soccer 2016:

Gluck – Predicting Team Standings in Professional Soccer

Closing Thoughts:

Best, Chris

You can follow me on twitter @Chrisgluckpwp.

COPYRIGHT – All Rights Reserved.  PWP – Trademark

Chris Gluck

I have been covering the Portland Timbers and Major League Soccer, as a community blogger/analyst for the Columbian Newspaper, since June, 2012. Since then my involvement in soccer analysis has expanded to include participating in the Regional Emmy Award Winning Soccer City PDX TV Show (Comcast Sports Northwest). My unique analytical approach has been published in Europe and presented at the World Conference on Science and Soccer 2014. I also appear regularly as a co-host on Rose City Soccer Show and the Yellowcarded Podcast. You can find my work on PossessionwithPurpose.com, PTFC Collective and Prost Amerika.

Gluck – Predicting Team Standings in Professional Soccer
101094chili-and-cornbread-13 http://blogs.columbian.com/paleomama/chili-and-cornbread/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/IMG_0362-1024x682-600x399.jpg

Chili and “Cornbread”

My Grandmother is from the south and has always made a mean cornbread. The best thing ever is to crumble it up in a big bowl of chili, so tasty. These days I try to avoid regular chili, the beans aren’t paleo and regular cornbread is full of non-paleo ingredients. I modified some different versions of paleo chili I found and came up with a version I really liked. The beans have been replaced with veggies and I think you could really get creative with the vegetables you use here. I thought carrots were a bit odd in chili but it turns out they worked!

Chili and “Cornbread”

The best thing however is the “cornbread” recipe I found. Yes I used quotations because there’s not a bit of corn in this bread, but for me it hit the spot. The key is almond flour which has a similar course texture to cornmeal. The original recipe (found here) used more honey than I can handle so I scaled back on it and added a little sweetener. If you have no problems with the added sugar, just use the 1/3 cup of raw honey originally called for.

Chili and “Cornbread”

I think this is a great comfort food meal for a chilly (ha ha get it?) fall day. Hope you enjoy!

Paleo Chili


½ lb. ground beef

16 oz. beef broth

1 small onion diced

1 zucchini diced

1 cup diced carrots

1 tsp minced garlic

1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chili)

3 Tbsp. tomato paste

1- 2 Tbsp. chili powder (add more for a spicier chili)

1 tsp cumin

1 – 2 Tbsp. avocado or coconut oil

Salt and pepper to taste


In a medium sized pot cook onions in oil over medium high heat until tender. Add beef and cook until browned. At this point you can drain some of the fat (confession I didn’t, don’t judge me, fat is flavor). Add beef broth, carrots and onions. Bring to a boil then turn to low and simmer until veggies are tender. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and stir well, leaving it to simmer for another 20 – 30 mins.

Paleo “cornbread”


1 ½ cups almond flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ Tbsp artificial sweetener

1 Tbsp honey

4 eggs


Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well, add to a greased 8×8 pan or a small round pan. Bake at 350° for 25 mins or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Should be a little golden brown on the top.


Sandy Carpenter

Busy working Mom of two and wife of one. Trying to eat healthier so I feel better and convincing my family to do the same!

Chili and “Cornbread”
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Avocado Egg Salad

I thought I’d bring you the thing I’ve been eating the most lately and enjoying so much! Thinking back on those church pot-luck days as a kid had me remembering how someone always brought an assortment of little sandwiches cut into triangles. My favorites were the cream cheese and pineapple, tuna salad, and of course egg salad. Fast forward to today, I don’t eat the traditional sandwich that much anymore but I wanted something reminiscent of those yummy little guys, so this version of egg salad was born.

I had some hard boiled eggs on hand but I try to avoid mayo these days, at least the store bought kind. There are Paleo mayo’s out there but I have yet to try them. Maybe I’ll throw together a homemade version of that for another day. Any-who I was thinking how the creaminess from an avocado would be a pretty good mayo substitute and it was de-lish! I added a few more ingredients to give it that egg salad-y flavor I remember and it was perfect and satisfying. This also couldn’t be easier and takes minutes to whip up if you’ve already got your eggs boiled. You might like this neat way to “hard-boil” eggs in the oven too.

I ate my creation in lettuce cups but I have also eaten it right out of the bowl. Hope it takes you back as well and I hope you enjoy!

Avocado Egg Salad

Avocado Egg Salad


1 medium ripe avocado

2 hard boiled eggs

1-2 tsp yellow mustard

Salt and pepper to taste


Dice eggs and avocado then mash together in a bowl with a fork. Add salt, pepper and mustard. Mix well and enjoy!

Sandy Carpenter

Busy working Mom of two and wife of one. Trying to eat healthier so I feel better and convincing my family to do the same!

Avocado Egg Salad
72053how-clark-county-voted-for-president http://blogs.columbian.com/digital-desk/2016/11/10/how-clark-county-voted-for-president/ /wp-content/uploads/2016/11/prez-map-2016-382x460.png

Clark County’s Elections Office is still counting ballots but the vast majority have been tallied, so far giving Democrat Hillary Clinton a slight edge over Republican President-elect Donald Trump, 46.1% to 44.3% as of Wednesday night.

Below you can see maps showing how the county’s precincts voted and how each of the state’s 39 counties voted (with data from the Washington State Secretary of State’s office), and you can see Clark County and the state mirror the rest of the country with pockets of urban blues surrounded by suburban pinks and rural reds.

In the county, Vancouver, Camas, Ridgefield and Woodland are strong or leaning Democrat, while the rest of the county leans or is staunchly Republican. It’s easy to see how the state’s 49th Legislative District keeps electing Democrats while the 17th and 18th elect Republicans.

At the state level, you can see strong support for Trump in more rural counties such as Lincoln County near Spokane where 72% voted for the Republican billionaire. That support flips to Clinton, of course, in the more densely populated urban counties along the Puget Sound, especially King County where 73.6% voted for the former Secretary of State and U.S. Senator.

For more election results, visit our Election 2016 page. We will be updating the local results as more information becomes available.

John Hill

John is the web and photo editor at The Columbian, where he has worked since 1995 in various roles. A journalist for the past 25 years, he's a fan of good storytelling, data, graphics and still likes to read an actual newspaper. Twitter: @hilljohng

How Clark County voted for president
82549can-a-democrat-win-the-3rd-district-5 http://blogs.columbian.com/digital-desk/2016/11/03/can-a-democrat-win-the-3rd-district/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/12/3rddistrict-537x460.jpg

In recent years, Republican U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler hasn’t had too much trouble dispatching her opponents to keep her seat in the 3rd Congressional District, but this year she faces state Rep. Jim Moeller, a Democrat who’s built up some name recognition serving the 49th Legislative District.

Can a Democrat win the 3rd District?

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler and Democratic challenger state Rep. Jim Moeller of the 49th District squared off in a debate at the Oak Tree Restaurant in Woodland Tuesday afternoon. State Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, left, and U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, square off Tuesday afternoon during a debate in Woodland. Moeller is challenging Herrera Beutler for her 3rd Congressional District seat. (Roger Werth/The Daily News)

That name recognition is something her previous two challengers lacked, but does Moeller have a chance of winning on Tuesday?

“Not a bit,” says Mike Gaston, the former executive director of the local GOP.

When redistricting occurred in 2010, Gaston points out that the political landscape changed dramatically in the 3rd District as the heavily-Democratic portion of Thurston County was removed from the district while adding predominantly Republican Klickitat County.

Dan Ogden, a longtime local resident who has served as chairman of the Clark County Democratic Party, agreed that the Democratic base took a hit after redistricting.

“I think Jaime is going to win,” Ogden said. Former 3rd District Representative and Democrat “Brian Baird used to carry it, but he still had Olympia in the 3rd District those days.”

The effects of redistricting can be seen in the election results the past three Congressional elections. In the 2010 election, Democrat Denny Heck took over for Baird and squared off against Herrera Beutler, receiving 35,677 votes from Thurston County compared to 25,878 for Herrera Beutler but that wasn’t enough to offset Herrera Beutler’s 15,000-vote margin in Clark County and another 10,000 in heavily Republican Lewis County.

Those margins grew even larger in Clark and Lewis counties in 2012 and 2014 but was that because the Democratic candidates didn’t have the name recognition of someone like Heck, or was it a further shifting of the electorate to the right? One thing is certain: voter turnout didn’t seem to help because Democrat Jon Haugen had a much larger turnout in 2012, a presidential election year, but received 40.6% of the county’s vote. In 2014, Democrat Bob Dingenthal also received 40.6% of the county’s vote.

On top of redistricting, the 3rd District’s most populated county has shifted. Jim Moore, a political science professor from Pacific University, says Clark County’s demographics began shifting in the 1980s and ’90s making it more of a Republican-leaning county. That shift culiminated in 1994 with the election of former U.S. Congresswoman Linda Smith to the 3rd District over Democrat Jolene Unsoeld.

That shift has left a Democratic stronghold, the state’s 49th Legislative District that Moeller serves, surrounded by the largely Republican-leaning 17th and heavily Republican 18th districts. To take the 3rd District, Moeller will need to pull votes from those outlying districts or neighboring counties.

John Hill

John is the web and photo editor at The Columbian, where he has worked since 1995 in various roles. A journalist for the past 25 years, he's a fan of good storytelling, data, graphics and still likes to read an actual newspaper. Twitter: @hilljohng

Can a Democrat win the 3rd District?
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Coconut Curry Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Doesn’t that title just say it all? Yum in a bowl happened at my house tonight. I knew it would be a soup making week when it started out with a sick hubby and then kid. It quickly moved on to a sick me and since this soup is one of my favorite “under the weather” go-to’s, I knew I had to make it.

Coconut Curry Chicken and Vegetable Soup

This soup was brought to you my by new favorite little kitchen helper…The Instant Pot! This amazing pressure cooker / slow cooker combo is sweeping the food world. Mine is on permanent loan from my mother-in-law. We share joint custody, she gets it every other weekend or when she wants to make rice. So glad she encouraged me to try it out and gives me free use of hers! The Instant Pot makes all sorts of dishes and in a lot less time than a traditional slow cooker. I’ll now end my commercial and get to the soup.

Coconut Curry Chicken and Vegetable Soup

You can really do whatever you want with this soup. I even made it with frozen chicken breasts which I cooked in 10 mins in the Instant Pot. You can throw in whatever vegetables suit your fancy and spice it up or down. Mine has a healthy squirt of Sriracha (Rooster Sauce) but you can leave it out and add some to just the bowl of the spice lovers in your house after the fact. You can also add a store bought curry sauce to this but if you want to be careful about the ingredients you can just stick to adding curry powder like I did.

It was also not thick enough for me so I used an immersion blender for an easy thickener. If you’re using full-fat coconut milk that will help too. I used a few cups of a coconut milk drink because the full-fat coconut milk upsets my tummy, unfortunately.

Coconut Curry Chicken and Vegetable Soup

No matter the version you make, this is sure to be a winner and chase away any crud lingering in your sinuses (you’re welcome for that mental picture). Happy souping!

Coconut Curry Chicken and Vegetable Soup


2 – 32 oz cartons chicken broth

3 frozen chicken breasts or 6 tenderloins

2 cups coconut milk (I used a coconut milk drink from a carton, can also use 1 can full-fat coconut milk)

1-2 broccoli crowns chopped

½ head cauliflower chopped

2 cups of carrots chopped

1 lb green beans trimmed and chopped into about 1” pcs

1-2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used mini-portobellos)

1 large zucchini chopped

3-4 stalks green onions chopped

2 Tbsp ginger paste (you can find it in the produce section of the grocery store)

1/2 Tbsp curry powder

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp chopped garlic

2 Tbsp Sriracha sauce

Salt to taste


Add chicken breasts to Instant Pot, pour chicken broth over just to cover and sprinkle the garlic powder over the top. Put lid on pot and making sure the valve is not on vent, set to “manual” for 10 mins. If not using an Instant Pot, you can cook covered on the stove top at medium high heat for about 20 mins or until the chicken is cooked. If using Instant Pot, quick vent once time is up. Remove chicken, shred and add back to pot. Add veggies on top and then the rest of the broth. Add curry powder, ginger, chopped garlic and salt to taste. Mix well, add unvented lid back and cook again on “manual” for another 20 mins. If using stove top cook cover for 45 mins to an hour until veggies are tender. If using Instant Pot, quick vent once time is up. At this time you can add your coconut milk, Sriracha and green onions. This is the point also at which I used my immersion blender to thicken. Some Paleo friendly thickeners include arrowroot powder or tapioca starch. I would Google the best way to use these thickeners if you’re so inclined before just dumping them in. At this point you can spice it up more and even garnish with more green onions. Enjoy!

Sandy Carpenter

Busy working Mom of two and wife of one. Trying to eat healthier so I feel better and convincing my family to do the same!

Coconut Curry Chicken and Vegetable Soup
82553most-counties-see-growth-in-median-income-5 http://blogs.columbian.com/digital-desk/2016/09/20/most-counties-see-growth-in-median-income/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Screen-Shot-2016-09-20-at-2.47.24-PM-381x460.png

Median household income rose in Clark County last year as it did in many counties across the country, something reporter Patty Hastings wrote about last week on columbian.com. Here in this county, the median household income rose by about 4.1% from 2014 to 2015 and 26.4% from 2005 to 2015. As regional economist Scott Bailey noted in the story, though, some of the gain has been offset by the rising cost of living.

Also, while much of the country seems to be enjoying the perks of an improved economy, there were some counties that did see a decline. Below you can use the interactive map to see which counties saw median household income grow or decline over the past year and the past 10 years. You won’t see every county shown because the ACS only applies to counties with more than 60,000 people.

In the Pacific Northwest, Spokane and Clallam counties saw the biggest drops over the past year, declining by 3.4% and 3.3% respectively. On the flipside, the counties with the largest increases were Cowlitz and Chelan counties at 18.3% and 13.4%.

John Hill

John is the web and photo editor at The Columbian, where he has worked since 1995 in various roles. A journalist for the past 25 years, he's a fan of good storytelling, data, graphics and still likes to read an actual newspaper. Twitter: @hilljohng

Most counties see growth in median income
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Paleo Pumpkin Bread

It’s that time of year again! Pumpkin spice everything! While I’ve seen some of you poke fun at how this time of year suddenly turns everything into a pumpkin spice-o-rama, I happen to love fall and all it’s pumpkin-spiciness. Also nothing screams fall more than a good old pumpkin bread recipe.

Today I bring to you a yummy paleo-fied pumpkin bread that smelled sooo good coming out of the oven. It contains 5 different spices!

This was also a good excuse to start pulling out the fall decorations (yummy candles here I come).

Paleo Pumpkin Bread

Brought to you from the blog The Barefoot Kitchen, this recipe is gluten-free, using almond flour as the base. I also cut down the amount of honey and added some sugar-substitute as I’m always striving to keep my blood-sugar even.

The original blog warns you that the spice mix is strong and you can cut it down to suit your taste. Call me a Spice Girl (go Ginger Spice!) because I loved the mix, but I can see how it would be too strong for some. This also came out a little flat for me (keeping it real here), so I think next time I’d make it in 2 mini loaf pans.

Paleo Pumpkin Bread

Hope this makes for a perfect fall kick off! Now if only Starbucks would offer a sugar-free, dairy-free pumpkin spice latte I’d be all set!

Paleo Pumpkin Bread


Dry ingredients

- 1 C. almond flour

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-1/4 tsp salt

-2 Tbsp ground cinnamon

-2 tsp ground nutmeg

-1 tsp ground cloves

-1 tsp ground ginger

-1 tsp ground allspice

Wet ingredients

-3 eggs

-2-3 Tbsp honey (1 used 1 Tbsp and 2 of a sugar substitute)

-½ C. pumpkin puree

-1 Tbsp vanilla extract


Mix together the dry ingredients then in a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Add the dry to the wet until well incorporated. Add to a greased loaf pan or 2 mini greased loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 40-45 mins. Enjoy!




Sandy Carpenter

Busy working Mom of two and wife of one. Trying to eat healthier so I feel better and convincing my family to do the same!

Paleo Pumpkin Bread
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They say we don’t talk to our neighbors any more but let’s pretend we do, and we know what they do for a living. But do you ever wonder whether what all of those other people in your neighborhood do? Well, we’ve got a couple of maps that might help.

Below you can see two maps that let you drill down and see the percentage of people working different types of jobs by census tract.

The first map provides a look at the bigger sectors: management, natural resources, production, sales and office and service jobs. You can see pockets where the percentage of people in some areas is higher and some lower, i.e., there appears to be more people in management living in east Vancouver and in Camas while the natural resources jobs appear to be, well, up north and to the east where you find more resources. A larger percentage of the service sector appears to live in central Vancouver and near the mall.

The second map drills down further, offering a look at some subsectors such as agriculture, arts and entertainment, construction, education, finance, retail, transportation, wholesale and more.

Obviously, census tracts are pretty big, or can be big and can contain more than one neighborhood, so this doesn’t exactly tell you what everyone in your neighborhood does for a living. But it’s about as close as we can get and still retain some sense of accuracy, though the Census Bureau cautions that even at the tract level all of this data is generated from sampling and has a margin of error. In other words, take it all with a grain of salt.

Still, even though Labor Day came and went on Monday, these maps offer a glimpse into what we do for work in Clark County. See any surprises?

John Hill

John is the web and photo editor at The Columbian, where he has worked since 1995 in various roles. A journalist for the past 25 years, he's a fan of good storytelling, data, graphics and still likes to read an actual newspaper. Twitter: @hilljohng

What we do for work in Clark County
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Chocolate Banana Brownie Bites

Mmmmm chocolate. I bet you didn’t know you could have something this yummy and still consider it healthy huh? I recently discovered these little gems over at one of my Paleo heroes blog The Paleo Parents. These mini brownie bites really satisfy the need for a treat when everyone else is having something yummy and you’re feeling left out.

If you’re also wondering why you see so many of my posts featuring banana, I have to say they are one versatile fruit. I know they can be a bit on the starchy side and some people avoid them because of this however, since I avoid so many other starches, bananas are A-OK in my book. For more Paleo banana recipes see here and here.

Chocolate Banana Brownie Bites

I keep these in the fridge after a day, and eat them cold or warmed up a bit in the microwave, either way they are delicious. I tweaked this a bit from the original and made it very low sugar by using a sugar substitute, but you can replace that with maple syrup if you don’t mind the extra sugar. This originally called for paleo-friendly chocolate chips but I left them out as they are a bit pricey. I think nuts would be another great add in as well.

I bought a mini muffin tin specifically for this recipe and I love it so much. If you don’t have one what are you waiting for? Go get one…now… I’ll wait.

That’s better. Here’s the recipe, enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Brownie Bites


2 mashed bananas

5 eggs

¾ cup coconut oil melted

1 cup almond flour

½ cup cocoa powder

½ granulated sugar substitute or ½ cup maple syrup

1 Tbsp. vanilla


Pre-heat oven to 350°. Mash bananas with a fork until smooth (or use an electric mixer). Mix in eggs, coconut oil, vanilla and sweetener (or maple syrup if using) until well blended. In a separate bowl combine almond flour and cocoa powder then add to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Using a small ice cream scoop divide mix into a 24 cup mini muffin tin (or two 12 cup tins). I have found that with all the coconut oil they probably don’t need to be greased but I do it anyway. Bake for 10 mins. Yum yum!


Sandy Carpenter

Busy working Mom of two and wife of one. Trying to eat healthier so I feel better and convincing my family to do the same!

Chocolate Banana Brownie Bites
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Howdy Clark County Fair Fans!!

I trust you all have been joining me in the annual countdown to the BEST FAIR ON THE PLANET!! We’re down to mere hours now for Friday’s opening and the free pancake breakfast sponsored by Fred Meyer.  WHOO HOO!

(Get your tickets ASAP at the Customer Service desk of any county Fred Meyer if you want free flapjacks AND free entry to the Fair on Friday morning!)

If you’ve followed along here the past few years, you know that I’ve had an absolute blast-and-a-half sharing the Fair with you.  The animals, the events in the Grandstands, the Clark County Equestrian Fair Court, the 4-H exhibits, the milkshakes and homemade pie.  All of the stuff that makes the Clark County Fair ours.

So I am sad to say that for various reasons, including recovering from a recent ACL surgery (beware of stepping on large sticks, people.  Trust me on this.), I am unfortunately going to bow out of blogging for the Columbian this year.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the opportunity the newspaper has given me the past several years to bring my version of The Fair to you.  They graciously let me run with it and run I did.  A sincere and heartfelt thank you to them… and to you for joining me.

I will still be attending The Fair this year but probably going it at a little more slowly.  I’ll be playing around with a new Instagram account so feel free to follow me at “its_the_fair”  It won’t be nearly as detailed or as frequent an account as all things Fair as you’ve found here, but it will give me something to do as I give my knee a rest.

Thank you all again for coming along for the Fair Ride these past few years!  Hope to see you around the Fairgrounds!

I’m back!  Sorta.

Toni Woodard

I am a Clark County Fair Fanatic and eat all things fried during the glorious 10 days of The Fair. I have lived in Clark County since 2004 and consider it the second-best decision of my life. I am married to a great guy named Rob (first-best decision) who graciously carries my stuff and takes my picture every time I eat something at The Fair. We have two indoor cats and lots of deer, rabbits, and coyotes who are kind enough to stay outside.

I’m back!  Sorta.
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Cauliflower Fried Rice

I’ve been meaning to bring this one to you for a while. Rice is one of those carb-filled items that I most miss, so finding this alternative made me want to do the dance of joy. I also have to confess that I cooked this yesterday and the whole batch is already gone (no judging).

This recipe has now been made easier by my friends over at Trader Joes. I promise they’re not paying me to write this, but I was so excited to see they sell already “riced”  cauliflower in the fresh and frozen section. The biggest thing that kept me from making this more often was the time it took and the mess it made chopping cauliflower in the food processor.

Cauliflower Fried Rice

With several steps eliminated, I was eager to finally bring you this recipe. Cauliflower rice can be used in many dishes, I’ve used it before in a paleo-friendly gumbo and it was perfect. My next plan is to work on a version of Spanish rice, my most favorite rice dish.

For now enjoy this by itself, with a stir-fry or whatever else you can think of. I made a “rice” bowl and added this Kalua pork recipe I made a few days ago and my favorite roast candy broccoli dish. It was serious yum time.

The other great thing is you can make this how you like, leave out the veggies or egg, add more veggies, or you could even add chicken or shrimp for a one pot meal. Yum with a capital Y!

Hope you put your own spin on this and tell me how it turned out!

Cauliflower Fried Rice


1 bag frozen riced cauliflower or 1 small to medium head of cauliflower chopped into florets and run through a food processor until it resembles grains of rice

1 cup of frozen peas and carrots (add any other veggies you’d like)

2-3 Tbsp avocado oil (sesame would also kick up the asian-y flavor)

4 Tbsp soy sauce

1-2 Tbsp coconut aminos (optional, this is a paleo alternative to soy sauce, can use alone if you want to skip the soy all together)

3 eggs (more or less to your liking)


Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat and add the cauliflower. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes (may take a bit longer if using frozen). Add frozen peas and carrots, I used a little water in the pan to help steam them and then let it cook off. Add soy sauce and coconut aminos and stir well (add more or less to taste). Beat eggs in a small bowl, move “rice” to one side of the pan, add eggs and scramble, then incorporate them back into the rice mix once cooked. Enjoy!

Sandy Carpenter

Busy working Mom of two and wife of one. Trying to eat healthier so I feel better and convincing my family to do the same!

Cauliflower Fried Rice
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Pizza “Muffins”

Mmmm pizza (insert voice of Homer Simpson here). If you’re eating Paleo, or practicing any kind of fairly healthy lifestyle, pizza is usually off the menu. I know there are a lot of alternative pizza crusts out there but in the words of Marvin Gaye: “Ain’t nothing like the real thing”. So sometimes you have the real thing as a treat and other times you make something like these ah-mazing pizza egg muffins.

Pizza “Muffins”

Originally found over at my latest Paleo blog crush The Paleo Parents (check ‘em out!) these are pretty simple to make and truly tasty. The proof is in the fact that I’ve already inhaled 3 while I’ve been typing. I think I even fooled my brain to think I was eating cheese somewhere in there. Also a yummy addition if you eat dairy and are just low-carbin’ it.

Pizza “Muffins”

I also love that you can add whatever toppings you’d like. Next time I will use those mushrooms before I forget they’re at the back of the fridge and let them go bad (true story). I think I’ll also add sausage.

Try them out today and let me know what you think and what toppings you used.

P.S. Both kids liked it (Mom win!).

Pizza “Muffins”


1 small red onion, chopped

1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil or avocado oil (my 2 favorites)

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 can diced tomato (I recommend the petite diced)

1 cup chopped pepperoni (I actually used more)

10 eggs

1 tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp salt

Dash of pepper

Add any other pizza-like spices you prefer


Preheat oven to 325°. Over medium high heat, sauté onions in oil until soft. Add tomato paste and stir together. Drain canned tomatoes and add to mix along with chopped pepperoni. In a separate bowl beat together eggs and spices. Line a muffin tin with liners and fill each cup with about a tablespoon of the tomato mixture. Top with eggs mixture until about ¾ full. Bake for 25-30 mins. Great to heat up later in the week for a quick breakfast. Enjoy!



Sandy Carpenter

Busy working Mom of two and wife of one. Trying to eat healthier so I feel better and convincing my family to do the same!

Pizza “Muffins”
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Portland Timbers travel to Colorado for the first time this year and the challenge for both teams is finding the right balance between attacking and defending.

In their last league home game the Timbers struggled in the first half – not unlike their US Open Cup match as well.

If not for an untimely hand-ball by David Horst and a really terrible PK call against the Dynamo goal keeper it’s likely the Timbers come away with a single point… to be sure they were fortunate as the two goals against in the first half were pretty much to standard given their entire defensive unit this year.

So when getting ready for Colorado it’s quite hard to figure who starts and who doesn’t.  

Does Taylor Peay start at right back?

He probably should given his higher passing accuracy and what appears to be better, heads-up, defensive positioning but in all likelihood Caleb Porter goes with Alvis Powell.

If you’re a Rapids supporter that’s probably a good thing – nearly 60% of all Dynamo attacking pressure came down Powell’s wing.  And when looking at this diagram below we see Colorado is balanced in penetration (touches) but weighs more towards the left side when taking (shots).

Defense First ?  Timbers to Ride the Rapids?

In my pre-match scouting report on Houston they weren’t balanced in penetration – nearly 40% of their penetration was down the right side – yet against Portland – Wade Barrett had his team push left… big time!  It’s likely Colorado will do the same.  MLS teams are pretty good at pressing the weak points an opponent has in defending as those players are more likely to make mistakes.

So if you’re a Timbers supporter hopefully the midfielders will add support for Powell.  I figure Diego Chara and Ben Zemanski in a double pivot as the first recourse should be for Portland to get at least one point.

In thinking about the left fullback.

I’m hopeful Zarek Valentin gets the call but Porter has gone with Jermaine Taylor before.  It was Taylor and Powell who paired up during that two-goal outburst by Houston last weekend…  And given the stingy defense of Colorado it’d be a nightmare for Portland to go a goal down in the first ten minutes.

However viewed the fullbacks do not man the wings alone – it’s likely both Chara and Zemanski start in a double pivot as Porter is going to want to give his team a chance to get at least one point.

And with the double pivot that doesn’t mean Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri, and Lucas Melano won’t have defensive responsibilities – they will and Melano cannot afford to ball-watch this game.

Here’s the same diagram offering up information on the Timbers attack:

Defense First ?  Timbers to Ride the Rapids?

Probably a tad more balanced in attacking touches than Colorado – but the same lean towards taking shots from the left sides appears for Portland as well.

Of note – while Portland has played somewhat more direct this year there average number of long passes (per game) is about 10-15 fewer than Colorado – from a tactical viewpoint that probably translates to slightly more MF play between Valeri, Nagbe, (Chara and Zemanski).

It doesn’t mean both teams won’t try to stretch the defensive back-four with long balls – but given Powell’s tendency to push higher up the pitch Nat Borchers might be really busy this game.

A key indicator on the attacking scheme will be to watch how deep and how quickly the fullbacks for Portland push forward – the less tendency to push forward the more likely Porter is thinking defense first.

So how do the fullbacks work in Colorado?  I asked Chris Brown, to share his thoughts with me on Friday:

Colorado’s fullbacks have been key in shutting down attacking threats, getting narrow when they need to crowd the box but also making smart decisions to step out when they have adequate cover from midfielders Michael Azira and Sam Cronin.

Marc Burch is the first choice left back for the Rapids and Mekeil Williams usually plays at right back. When the cover is there they step out and close down attackers, preventing crosses from coming into the box but also positioning themselves to try and limit the danger from the other teams fullbacks overlapping.

Colorado plays defense first, so the midfield is always there in support, clogging channels and disrupting the attack.

Time and time again Colorado’s opponents have been able to get to the top of the 18 yard box but met with Cronin and Azira, ahead of a narrow back four, have to slow down their attack and pass sideways. If given time to set the defense up in its proper shape, Colorado extremely difficult to break down.

In closing:
Colorado team defensive performance this year as been first class – they are second best across MLS in limiting quality attacking by their opponent.  On the other hand – Portland is the highest quality attacking team in MLS this year.  Below is a diagram intended to show three things:
  1. Dark red bar – Colorado opponent’s average percentages in six categories,
  2. Dark green bar – Portland’s average percentages in six categories, and
  3. What gaps exist between each of those six categories.

Defense First ?  Timbers to Ride the Rapids?

In other words:

CRFC opponents average possession percentage is 51% while PTFC, in attack, averages 49% possession.

CRFC opponents average 75% passing accuracy while PTFC average 78% passing accuracy.

CRFC opponents and PTFC penetration averages are the same.

CRFC opponents and PTFC shots taken per completed penetrating pass averages are near the same.

CRFC opponents are far less successful in converting shots taken to shots on goal – and shots on goal to goals scored.

It should be a classic battle of a potent attacking team against a potent defending team.

Best, Chris

COPYRIGHT, All Rights Reserved.  PWP – Trademark

Chris Gluck

I have been covering the Portland Timbers and Major League Soccer, as a community blogger/analyst for the Columbian Newspaper, since June, 2012. Since then my involvement in soccer analysis has expanded to include participating in the Regional Emmy Award Winning Soccer City PDX TV Show (Comcast Sports Northwest). My unique analytical approach has been published in Europe and presented at the World Conference on Science and Soccer 2014. I also appear regularly as a co-host on Rose City Soccer Show and the Yellowcarded Podcast. You can find my work on PossessionwithPurpose.com, PTFC Collective and Prost Amerika.

Defense First ?  Timbers to Ride the Rapids?
82559three-ways-to-look-at-i-5-bridge-crashes-7 http://blogs.columbian.com/digital-desk/2016/06/27/three-ways-to-look-at-i-5-bridge-crashes/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/12/bridge-chart-fea-img.png

What’s the worst day and time to cross the I-5 bridge?

Reporter Dameon Pesanti, who covers transportation for The Columbian, wanted to know so earlier this spring he set out to find the answer, obtaining data from the Washington and Oregon State Departments of Transportation. Both agencies provided us with five years worth of data from 2009 to 2014 (WSDOT even had 2015 but ODOT’s still processing last year’s data so we filtered that out).

The answer is 3 pm on a Friday, though Saturday is equally as bad. Overall, though, Friday is the worst day of the week for fender benders on the bridge with 157 to Saturday’s 145. You can see this information and much more, including a map of the 800-plus accidents, in our data visualization below.

But what about other days of the week? Is 3 pm the witching hour every day? And do these trends hold steady year after year or do things fluctuate from year to year? Tne answers: No and yes. On Tuesdays, the worst time of day is 4 pm, just as rush hour is really ramping up. On Wednesdays, it’s even later at 5 pm. But don’t just take our word for it, you can slice and dice the data yourself with the visualization above, or this one below.

John Hill

John is the web and photo editor at The Columbian, where he has worked since 1995 in various roles. A journalist for the past 25 years, he's a fan of good storytelling, data, graphics and still likes to read an actual newspaper. Twitter: @hilljohng

Three ways to look at I-5 bridge crashes
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Bacon Guacamole Sliders

After tooling around the Paleoverse today, I felt like making something for all the carnivores out there. However I have to admit something to said carnivores…I’m not a big bacon fan. I know, I know, it’s famous as a low carb staple, but I can usually take it or leave it. However, there is something about delicious, delicious pork that really makes for a yummy, satisfying dish and also helps me not miss the bun and cheese here at all. There is much debate whether bacon is truly Paleo due to the preservatives and nitrates. (More on cured meats here.) I chose an uncured, high quality bacon for this dish.

Bacon Guacamole Sliders

But don’t even get my started on avocado…avocado and I are BFF’s from way back.

Bacon Guacamole Sliders

And avocado shines nowhere better than in guacamole.

I also love the combo of ground beef and ground pork for the sliders. They are the perfect size and can be made easily into a lettuce wrap. I’m also planning on having some left over burgers with a fried egg on top. Talk about yum-tastic. Hope you enjoy!

Bacon Guacamole Sliders



1 lb. ground beef

1lb. ground pork

8-10 slices of bacon, cooked and drained

2 eggs

1 Tbsp. dehydrated onion

1-2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste


2 large ripe avocados, flesh scooped out and diced

Juice from half a lemon

Dash or two of onion powder and salt

2 Tbsp. of your favorite salsa (or more!)


  Combine ground beef and pork with the eggs and spices. Shape into palm sized slider patties. (This amount made 12 for me). Grill until cooked through (recommended temp of 160°). For guacamole, mash avocado with a fork and stir in remaining ingredients. To assemble sliders serve on a bed of romaine lettuce or in lettuce wraps topped with the guacamole and bacon. Traditional burger fixings of tomato, onion and pickle, would also be delicious. Enjoy!


Sandy Carpenter

Busy working Mom of two and wife of one. Trying to eat healthier so I feel better and convincing my family to do the same!

Bacon Guacamole Sliders
101028its-been-real-10 http://blogs.columbian.com/blazer-banter/2016/06/17/its-been-real/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/blazer-banter-logo-1024x746-600x437.png

My time at The Columbian is coming to a close but I know we were always meant to be, even if our moment together was fleeting. Life is like that.

A Tom Vogt article from The Columbian about my family cheering on the Venezuelan basketball team in the 1992 Tournament of the Americas hung in my bedroom since I could remember. Vogt, one of the OG’s who was covering the Blazers at the time, wrote about my loud obnoxious family and when I came in for an interview, I told him I’d had his byline by me since I was a boy. A headline about “latin-flavored hoops,” became something of a mission statement in my own life and it led my to the start of my career. That the Venezuelan basketball team is going back to the Olympics this year for the first time since ’92 and that I am leaving at the same time makes me feel as though I closed the loop.

I will no longer be working and/or posting things here. The Columbian is eliminating its original Blazers coverage and the blog will exist but it will mostly be idle. I will no longer be using the legendary @BlazerBanter twitter handle.  It was a fun three seasons covering the team for the paper, which included the two most successful seasons since 2000.

I was told of my future last Wednesday and Friday, June 17, is my last day at The Columbian. I have the ominous distinction of being the last Blazers beat writer at The Columbian. It was an honor to follow in the footsteps great reporters like Candace Buckner, Matt Calkins, Brian Smith, Kenny Vance and Tom Vogt, just to name a few. When I first learned the news, I was blindsided and crushed. But as time has passed, I’m truly looking forward to what comes next. The warmth I’ve received from friends, colleagues and readers has truly made me realize how lucky I am.

This is my farewell to you all, at least in this space. I’ll keep firing off tweets (@Erik_Gundersen). The Bulls vs. Blazers NBA Podcast with my buddy Sean Highkin will live on. You should also leave us a 5-star review on iTunes. And I’m sure when I get the urge, I’ll write some Blazers/NBA thoughts somewhere.

This blog had very little on it when I came to the position and I’d like to thank my bosses, specifically Micah Rice, for giving me a shot and letting me make this blog whatever I wanted to make it. I had never filed on deadline and early on, it showed. I can’t thank our great sports staff enough for giving me room to grow.

There are lots of other good people that lost their jobs and I know that I only contributed a small drop in the bucket compared to the others who are leaving the paper. I’m just glad that I got to be a part of it.

I had no idea what I was doing at first. Then things like “The Scouting Report” were born, we blogged even the smallest piece of news and we even broke some too. Big news, even, all of which, I proudly stand by.

My hope was to bring a broader view of the league to this blog, to help people understand the Blazers in the context of the NBA ecosystem. I never wanted to be just some guy who only watched other teams when they played the Blazers. I’m not exactly sure if I did that, but I definitely tried.

I love the NBA, I always have (okay this is a lie, the Jail Blazers almost drove it out of me but Boris Diaw’s 05-06 season brought me back) and I always will. I carry a Drazen Petrovic rookie card in my car as protection. It’s not an exaggeration to say basketball is my religion.

Journalism is the business we’ve chosen (shout-out to Hyman Roth) and it’s a cutthroat one. I’m so thankful for getting the experience at The Columbian and to the Trail Blazers before that for letting me in the door. I’m thankful that the paper took a chance on someone who had only one season of NBA work under their belt but had a passion and truly cared about the game.

It was a pleasure getting to write here and blabber on about basketball. I’ll miss a lot of things and honestly, there will be plenty of things that I won’t miss. I’m hopeful that I will land on my feet soon. I’m hopeful that all of us who were laid-off will.

Un abrazo,


Erik Alexander García Gundersen


Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on ESPN.com's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

It’s been real
101032blazers-hire-espn-radios-kevin-calabro-as-television-play-by-play-announcer-10 http://blogs.columbian.com/blazer-banter/2016/06/17/blazers-hire-espn-radios-kevin-calabro-as-television-play-by-play-announcer/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/225859scr_2a92c786e3a50491-518x400.jpg

Via ESPN MediaZone

The rumors have been confirmed: the Portland Trail Blazers are bringing in the NBA’s national radio voice into the both for all 82 games next season. Kevin Calabro is the new Blazers play-by-play man for the foreseeable future. Calabro, who was the Seattle Supersonics play-by-play man for 21 seasons until the team moved to Oklahoma City, has been the lead voice of ESPN Radio’s NBA coverage.

Calabro hasn’t taken an NBA team job since 2008 but has been a prominent broadcast voice on ESPN Radio, NBATV, TNT and the Pac-12 Networks.

He told Casey Holdahl of TrailBlazers.com why he didn’t take a gig outside of the Northwest.

“Since the Sonics left in ’08 I’ve always entertained the thought of being with a club, had a couple of opportunities, but the time was never right with the family because my kids were in school at the time,” said Calabro. “I just did not want to live apart from my family after putting in 21 years in the league, just didn’t feel like moving away was something that I wanted to do. Over the last couple of years I actually entertained the thought of, if there ever was an opportunity available anywhere in the league I definitely would be interested. Unfortunately, there just weren’t any opportunities.”

The team is weary of the Seattle connection, given Paul Allen and Vulcan Inc.’s Seattle roots. DirecTV-owned ROOT Sports, who broadcasts the Seattle Mariners and Portland Timbers, is based out of Seattle. However, it does not appear that the Calabro hiring has anything to do with that. He has worked for pretty much every network, which most broadcasters do. This was about bringing in one of the best in the business.

According to Holdahl, McGowan approached Calabro as he called games during Portland’s series against the Golden State Warriors.

“Many people in our organization have admired Kevin through his work with the Sonics and ESPN, so we reached out to gauge interest and begin conversations during our playoff series with the Golden State Warriors,” said McGowan. “After several long conversations we determined there was mutual interest and were able to work towards a deal that was just finalized.

The decision to remove Mike Barrett and Mike Rice from their posts, as well as radio analyst Antonio Harvey, was one that did not go down easy.

You may not know Calabro if you aren’t a die-hard NBA fan who occasionally listens to basketball on the radio. However, his voice will soon become a familiar one in the city and his talent has landed him the call for the NBA Finals for the last few seasons.

If you want to get a taste of Calabro, tune your radio to 1080 AM The Fan on Sunday night when he calls Game 7 of The Finals with Hubie Brown.

No word yet on who may join him in the booth for the broadcast but they have already locked in their play-by-play man for the future.


Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on ESPN.com's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

Blazers hire ESPN Radio’s Kevin Calabro as television play-by-play announcer
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In perhaps their best team performance all year the Portland Timbers defeated the San Jose Earthquakes, in the fourth round of the US Open Cup, at Providence Park last night 2 – nil.

I don’t offer that lightly – the Timbers have struggled on both sides of the ball this year – not only in finishing chances but in denying chances.  As evidence - their lack of clean sheets on the back-end and a rather low number of goals scored per shots taken on the front end.

If this game shows the tenor of things to come for Portland this year the rest of Major League Soccer needs to take notice!

In particular – many times we hear that a player is a great defender because they have higher than average numbers of tackles – this couldn’t be further from the truth.

A solid defender is a person who shuts down penetration and forces the opponent to move the ball elsewhere.  Jorge Villafana was superb in doing that last year and Zarek Valentin stepped in last night and did the same.

Rarely did you see him have to tackle or leave his feet -  if memory serves I don’t recall him doing that once last night.  And I can only recall Taylor Peay doing it once himself.

When you want to give yourself a solid chance at a clean sheet you need your fullbacks to shut down the wings and force the opponent to play in low-percentage crosses.  A good indicator to support that theory is the high level of clearances last night with a high level of crosses.


Amobi Okugo:  With the acquisition of Amobi Okugo the Timbers have shored up what I thought was a waning center-back weakness with the departure of Norberto Paparatto.  Okugo impressed me when I saw him play for Philadelphia Union, a few years ago, and that positive impression remains.  A solid defender who knows his positional role and how to support others around him.  A great awareness to be sure.

Taylor Peay:  As referenced earlier Taylor, like last year, continues to progress.  He’s shown well against the likes of Graham Zusi and others last year and apart from one instance against Shea Salinas – one of the quicker players on San Jose – he showed well again last night.

Jack Barmby:  Jack Barmby has shown good pace and quick feet since joining the Timbers – others, like Lucas Melano, have shown the same.  The difference, in my view, is that Barmby actually understood and understands how his positional play impacts and influences the play and space generated for others.  In addition, his first touch is far better.

Many may view my opinion about Lucas Melano as a personal affront - it’s not.

The youthful Lucas shows great strength in spreading the defenders wider with  his speed.  But with his considerably higher salary, and slow development of a good first touch (at least on turf), his continued role is tenable as a starter.  So the sooner Barmby matures on the pitch the better.

Others may disagree, but in my view, there is no room in MLS for highly paid players who don’t provide specific, attributable, results relative to team success on a consistent basis.

Bottom line is Lucas Melano hasn’t shown consistent value given his salary.  Perhaps a return to South America does suit Lucas better?

Tenor of tactics:

In thinking about gravitational pull – this is all about playing without the ball as much as playing with the ball.  Nearly 95% of the game a player plays without the ball.  Last night, for me, was a great example on how effective the entire team was in playing without the ball.

I think much of that has to do with what Caleb Porter touched on in his post game presser – the tenor of the Timbers attack has moved on this year.

With always trying to play a 4-3-3 Timbers players movement without the ball became predictable – if you don’t know what I mean just watch Columbus Crew.  Meaning, as advocated very early this year – the Timbers needed to move on and develop more flexible ways to attack.

Note the increased level of passing these last few games and the interaction/rotation of players within the attacking half.  All of this is to the good and should be fair warning to scouts tracking the Timbers that their penetration schemes are diverse and more dangerous – less predictable!

Improvement on the pitch:

Jack McInerney:  When I first watched Jack McInerney I didn’t think he showed a lot of grist in applying pressure or shifting about to create openings elsewhere on the pitch.  I won’t say that now – in the last few games his rotational play and finishing has been superb.  His improvement on the pitch simply makes other players more effective.  I wonder how well he’d work with Fenando Adi in a two-striker format for 75+ minutes?

The basic/bucket 4-4-2 can be quite boring at times but when it comes down to it – it’s probably one of the most fundamentally sound formations in soccer.  The greater your team is in executing the 4-4-2 (with all its nuances) the more effective other formations become.

Dairon Asprilla:   As for Dairon Asprilla – from day one he’s impressed me with his first touch and ability to play all sides of the pitch while also understanding his positional role relative to his teammates.  My concern has been his chippy mentality – like we witnessed two weeks ago.  But I don’t think it’s that chippy-ness, on the pitch, that got in his way of minutes earlier this year.

I think it’s his chippy-ness in seeing a teammate, like Lucas Melano, getting more minutes when Dairon has strong feelings/emotions that his performance on the pitch was just as good – if not better – than Melano’s.  That (might?) sound a bit dubious but players can be quite sensitive at times – especially when you need an ego to play.

A Head coach never wants a player who doesn’t show passion – the challenge for the players and team leadership is moderating that passion when not selected… his performance last night was strong – very strong – it’s good to see Dairon do well – I think he will have a key role in this team being successful this year.

And if Lucas Melano can keep things more simple and just rely on his instincts, and a better first touch, I’m sure he can add greater value too.  But if you’re going to maximize flexibility in attack it’s likely we won’t see Dairon Asprilla and Lucas Melano on the pitch at the same time… especially if Jack Barmby and Darren Mattocks improve.

Moving forward:

Nineteen games remain – max points equals 57 – an unlikely target but I’d bet every game the Timbers play will begin with the intent to get three points.

Flexibility and shifting players (in-game) to maximize different ways and means to penetrate, create, and score goals is critical – but not as critical as holding the opponent scoreless.  The defensive side of this team has not been good so far – it NEEDS to improve.

One game is not a trend, but this latest litmus test shows that fullbacks on the Timbers are getting better at locking down the wing penetration – can they sustain that lock down?

The weekend game against Real Salt Lake is the next test – can they continue?

Best, Chris

Chris Gluck

I have been covering the Portland Timbers and Major League Soccer, as a community blogger/analyst for the Columbian Newspaper, since June, 2012. Since then my involvement in soccer analysis has expanded to include participating in the Regional Emmy Award Winning Soccer City PDX TV Show (Comcast Sports Northwest). My unique analytical approach has been published in Europe and presented at the World Conference on Science and Soccer 2014. I also appear regularly as a co-host on Rose City Soccer Show and the Yellowcarded Podcast. You can find my work on PossessionwithPurpose.com, PTFC Collective and Prost Amerika.

Timbers Shake Quakes Again!
101036blazers-overhaul-broadcast-crew-mike-barrett-antonio-harvey-and-mike-rice-out-10 http://blogs.columbian.com/blazer-banter/2016/06/15/blazers-overhaul-broadcast-crew-mike-barrett-antonio-harvey-and-mike-rice-out/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/B7XPz1bCMAA_RHQ-1.jpg

Mike Barrett (left) and Mike Rice (right) will not be back with the Blazers photo via @PinwheelEmpire on twitter

The Portland Trail Blazers’ broadcast crew is undergoing a major overhaul and several faces who were synonymous with the organization will no longer be there.

The team announced Wednesday that television duo Mike Rice and Mike Barrett, as well as radio analyst Antonio Harvey will not be with the team next season. A national search to replace Barrett and Rice has already begun. Radio voice Brian Wheeler will be back for his 19th season, doing a Vin Scully-style solo broadcast on the radio.

“After reviewing our entire broadcast operation over the past couple of seasons, I felt it was a good time for us to transition into a new direction,” McGowan said in a press release. “I would like to thank our broadcasters for their years of dedicated service to our organization and wish them nothing but success in their future endeavors. Going forward, we will focus our efforts on a national search to fill our open TV broadcast positions, with the number one goal of bringing in top-notch talent that our fans will be excited to watch during Trail Blazers broadcasts.”

The Blazers 10-year deal with Comcast Sportsnet Northwest is up after next season and both sides have been in negotiations since the new year. The Blazers and Comcast have butted heads in the past over who would get revenue from streaming games, which has caused Blazers fans who pay cable subscriptions to continue living in 2006, with no streaming option the past two seasons. Joe Freeman of The Oregonian got the scoop that Comcast offered the Blazers a deal but that the Blazers are listening to other offers and must decide on a new partner before July 1.

From Freeman

Comcast, which leans on the Blazers as its flagship partner in the region, submitted a new contract offer earlier this year during an exclusive negotiating window. But the Blazers — long frustrated by Comcast’s lack of distribution — have been fielding offers from other potential partners for weeks and it’s possible they will move in another broadcast direction. For nearly a decade, Blazers games have been unavailable to satellite television subscribers because of national distribution disagreements between Comcast and DirecTV/Dish, leaving a large percentage of Blazers’ fans in the crosshairs of a corporate kerfuffle.

DirecTV owned ROOT Sports broadcasts the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Mariners. As Freeman also noted, they could also go a non-traditional route with their broadcast. The Blazers often feel the pressure for living up to their “Trail Blazers” brand and a streaming broadcast option would set a precedent in the league. Here’s what McGowan told me when it came to carriage of Blazers broadcast earlier this year.

“It’s super important,” McGowan said of carriage on other providers. “Unfortunately we don’t control it which is a tough thing. There’s only a few companies that carry regional sports networks. You have to create a deal and a partnership with those companies. It’s definitely a factor. It’s on our mind. It’s our end goal. It’s one of those things that we understand our fans want our games as widely distributed as possible.”

Comcast Sportsnet Northwest’s positioning is also precarious with regards to the Blazers. According to sources, the network’s future could be in jeopardy if the Blazers don’t renew their contract with them.

All the best to Mike, Mike and Tone who were nothing but gracious to a young reporter trying to break into the game.



Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on ESPN.com's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

Blazers overhaul broadcast crew: Mike Barrett, Antonio Harvey and Mike Rice out
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(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The NBA Finals live to see another day. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving both scored 41 points and King James added 16 rebounds and seven assists to boot. SOMEBODY CALL STEPHEN A!!!!! LeBron would have had a triple-double had budding TJ Maxx Player Kevin Love been able to knock down a shot. Where are we with Love after he signed a max deal last summer? Can he be revived as a max player, or his he destined to join Harrison Barnes as a TJ Maxx guy?

Speaking of Harrison Barnes, the Iowa Mafia that runs the Chicago Bulls is apparently being offered Minnesota’s No. 5 pick in the upcoming draft in hopes of reuniting Jimmy Butler with new Timberwolves head coach and President Tom Thibodeau. Sean was front and center for the last years of the Thibs era in Chicago and tells us why the Bulls front-office pettiness isn’t going to let that happen.

After talking about the Finals and how amazing LeBron and Kyrie were, we also went into a brief discussion on the Blazers offseason. Love was long viewed as an upgrade for the Blazers. Now? I think they are better off with Aminu at power forward and (insert center here).

Crazy how far we’ve come. What do you think?




Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on ESPN.com's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

Bulls vs. Blazers NBA Podcast: Is Kevin Love a TJ Maxx player?
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photo via adidas

It’s a Monday and it’s the summer, which can only mean one thing on this blog: Damian Lillard dropping new music. His latest #MusicMonday release is a freestyle over Mobb Deep’s classic “Shook Ones Pt. II.” featuring V.I.P.Lillard is in Taipei as part of his adidas “Take on Summer” tour but he continues bringing the heat.

Lillard has already released three original tracks and a couple of more tracks for Spalding. We are all still waiting on the album. TMZ reported a few weeks ago that Lillard’s skills behind the mic are getting attention from the music industry. He’s also been tweeting about Chance The Rapper, which I’m hoping results in a collaboration.

Anything involving “Shook Ones Pt. II” is a win in my book. Lillard could have said nothing and I would have enjoyed it.  I’ve already listened to the original “Shook Ones Pt. II” five times since listening to the Dame version. Never forget that “Shook Ones” is also responsible for the greatest commercial in NBA history.

Lillard’s time in Asia has also given him space to set off some very fire tweets. He also took time during his trip to announce that he is releasing an updated version of his PDX Carpet sneakers, which are a favorite of Blazers coach Terry Stotts.

I won’t be able to bring you the updates on Dame’s music beyond this week. However, as I’m sure you already know, you can follow all of Dame’s music drops by following him on SoundCloud.







Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on ESPN.com's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

Dame DOLLA: Shook Ones Pt. II Freestyle feat. V.I.P.
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(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

This is the last week that I will writing on this blog, as you may have heard. However, The Network will live on beyond the confines of this space. The people need the content. The Real Lakers of Los Angeles are out here making waves and the Golden State Warriors, their parents and spouses, are engaged in an all-out verbal assault on LeBron James.

Draymond Green is suspended for Monday night’s Game 5 (6 p.m. PDT on ABC) after being assessed a flagrant 1 after hitting James below the belt, which gives him the requisite points for a suspension. He dug his own grave on this one and it gives the Cavaliers a chance to keep their season alive. Kevin Love, your time is now or never.

We discussed the impact of the Green suspension and the many ways we are hoping Green documents his suspension. If Snapchat isn’t paying Draymond to put together a story from his suite at tonight’s Oakland A’s game, then maybe it’s not really worth $20 billion. Just give him enough to cover a potential fine.

The Real Lakers of Los Angeles were also forced to issue a press release stating that Magic Johnson is no longer officially part of the Lakers. They’re clearly guarding against tampering charges for when they sign Meyers Leonard to the max.

We’ll have another episode after Game 5.





Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on ESPN.com's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

Bulls vs. Blazers NBA Podcast: The High Road
75238trail-mix-lillard-tours-china-sabonis-story-gets-a-reboot-3 http://blogs.columbian.com/blazer-banter/2016/06/10/trail-mix-lillard-tours-china-sabonis-story-gets-a-reboot/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/04/adidas-Damian-Lillard-TOS-Beijing-2-1024x681-600x399.jpg

Photo via adidas

Damian Lillard is always a busy man. Not a month after playing his final playoff game, he’s been touring in China with adidas. Here you can see him coaching up some young Chinese hoopers as part of the adidas “Take On Summer” tour. Brand aware as always, Lillard is rocking his PDX Carpet D Lillard 2′s while coaching up the kids in China.

Trail Mix: Lillard tours China, Sabonis story gets a reboot

Damian Lillard coaching in the PDX Carpet D Lillard 2′s.

Dane Carbaugh did a review of florist edition of his signature shoe for Blazersedge. I don’t think anybody does product reviews on shoes quite like Dane. Check it out.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Golden State’s Stephen Curry would not participate in this summer’s Olympic games in Rio. This of course improves Lillard’s chances of joining the team. But is that a good thing? Eric Griffith explored that issue for Blazersedge. Given Coach K’s affinity for Kyrie Irving, moving Steph effing Curry off the ball, it’s probably safe to say Dame won’t be a featured player if he does go.

The Portland Trail Blazers have produced a series of podcasts on key figures and moments in Blazers history. Earlier this week, they did an excellent 33-minute podcast on how Arvydas Sabonis came to America and the Blazers. Sabonis was arguably the best player in the World before he came to the NBA but he spent most of his prime in Europe because Cold War. Michael Lewellen and Kris Koivisto did a very good podcast if you want to learn more about that story. The god Bill Schonley, who saw it all unfold, tells some great stories and they even got the GM at the time, Bucky Buckwalter, on the record.

Bill Simmons included “Sabonis coming over to the NBA in his prime” as one of the greatest “What if’s?” in NBA history. The Blazers were a perennial playoff team with excellent guards and wings. While Kevin Duckworth and Buck Williams were solid players, it’s impossible not to imagine Drexler, Porter, Kersey and Robinson circling around an offensive fulcrum in Sabonis. To me, this might be a bigger franchise what-if than missing out on Michael Jordan.





Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on ESPN.com's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

Trail Mix: Lillard tours China, Sabonis story gets a reboot
75243trail-mix-lillards-usa-basketball-chances-get-a-boost-3 http://blogs.columbian.com/blazer-banter/2016/06/07/trail-mix-lillards-usa-basketball-chances-get-a-boost/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Testing-Lollard-Baske_acco.jpg

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

The odds that the new Dame DOLLA album will include some samba beats just got better. It looks like Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard will be spending some time in Brazil this summer, now that Golden State’s Stephen Curry will not participate in the upcoming 2016 Olympics.

Curry suffered a knee injury in the playoffs, which he is citing as the main reason for his absence in the upcoming Olympics.

Via Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group

“After a great deal of internal thought and several discussions with my family, the Warriors and my representatives, I’ve elected to withdraw my name from the list of eligible players on Team USA’s preliminary roster for the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil. I recently informed Jerry Colangelo of this decision.”

Thompson also wrote that several other potential Team USA players, including another competitor at the point guard spot in Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, could stay home to avoid the Zika virus. Westbrook, Cleveland’s LeBron James and Golden State’s Andre Iguodala may not be in Rio.

Over 200 health care professionals have signed a petition to the World Health Organization to either relocate or postpone the games in Rio. According to Thompson’s report, players are already being advised to sleep in malaria nets to avoid catching the virus.

If Westbrook does stay that will leave him, 2014 Team USA member and Coack K favorite Kyrie Irving, Lillard and Memphis’ Mike Conley vying for three point guards spots. They could carry more than three point guards in theory, but they only took three to the 2014 World Cup (Irving, Curry, Derrick Rose). Washington’s John Wall is recovering from knee surgery and has been removed from the player pool.

No matter how it goes, at least Lillard will have a friend close by. Blazers guard CJ McCollum is officially part of the USA Select Team, which will scrimmage against the Olympic team, as of Tuesday.

Here’s the group that will make up the USA Select Team, which will be coached by San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.

Selected for the 2016 USA Basketball Select squad were: Malcolm Brogdon (University of Virginia); Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Detroit Pistons); Willie Cauley-Stein (Sacramento Kings); Kris Dunn  (Providence College); Aaron Gordon (Orlando Magic); Jerami Grant (Philadelphia 76ers); Gary Harris (Denver Nuggets); Rodney Hood (Utah Jazz); Brandon Ingram (Duke University);Brice Johnson (University of North Carolina), Stanley Johnson (Detroit Pistons); Zach LaVine (Minnesota Timberwolves); CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers); Doug McDermott (Chicago Bulls); Emmanuel Mudiay (Denver Nuggets); Jahlil Okafor (Philadelphia 76ers); Jabari Parker (Milwaukee Bucks); Julius Randle (Los Angeles Lakers); D’Angelo Russell (Los Angeles Lakers); Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics);Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers); Denzel Valentine (Michigan State University); Justise Winslow (Miami Heat) and Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets).

While McCollum will just be scrimmaging against the Olympic team, he is now in the USA Basketball pipeline. Although he won’t be able to make the Olympic team this season, this gives him a chance to be considered for future teams.

Finally, Dame DOLLA released another new song yesterday as part of his Music Monday releases titled “Isley.

Lillard was also named the “Male Professional Athlete of the Year” at Monday night’s Oregon Sports Awards.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was a guest on Tuesday’s Chris Mannix Vertical Podcast. You can listen here.



Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on ESPN.com's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

Trail Mix: Lillard’s USA Basketball chances get a boost
75247podcast-realgm-radio-blazers-offseason-preview-with-danny-leroux-3 http://blogs.columbian.com/blazer-banter/2016/06/07/podcast-realgm-radio-blazers-offseason-preview-with-danny-leroux/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Trail-Blazers-Warrior_acco-24.jpg

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

As weird as it may seem, we are now less than a month away from a pivotal time for the Portland Trail Blazers. Free agency begins July 1 and before that we have the NBA draft, where the Blazers could potentially sneak into the draft, although they currently don’t own a draft pick.

Their offseason has suddenly become one of the league’s most intriguing and I went on Real GM Radio with Danny Leroux to talk about everything the Blazers may or may not do this offseason.

If the plug-in for BlogTalkRadio doesn’t want to cooperate, you can follow the link to the website here. You can also listen to the podcast by subscribing to it on iTunes.

You can follow Danny and all of his work on twitter by following @DannyLeroux.

And we are planning on having a new Bulls vs. Blazers in the next day, where we will talk to Sean Highkin, who will give us a report from Cleveland about what’s going on in the Finals.

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on ESPN.com's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

Podcast: RealGM Radio Blazers offseason preview with Danny Leroux
95865spaghetti-squash-carbonara-11 http://blogs.columbian.com/paleomama/spaghetti-squash-carbonara/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/11/100_7080-1024x769-600x450.jpg

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Ok can I just make a confession here? Remember when I mentioned that paleo allows for an 80/20 way of eating where you’re eating paleo 80% of the time? Well lately friends I’ve kind of had this flipped and was not going to even mention it to you thinking I could pull the wool over your eyes. But as I’ve said before, over here at Paleo Mama we’re all about keeping it real and I think we can all say we’ve been there sometimes with bad eating habits. What’s important is that we get back on that wagon or horse or insert your favorite old-timey mode of transportation here. Well this dish is me getting back on the paleo horse. And now back to our regularly scheduled recipe

Here’s one I’ve been wanting to make for a while. It features once again the favorite paleo pasta substitute spaghetti squash. We’ve been down this road before regarding my love of this happy yellow squash, more on it here.

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

I had seen some recipes for spaghetti alla carbonara and figure it would translate well into a squash dish. What really yums up this one is the bacon and onions combined with the creaminess of the egg mixture. (Inspiration from Paleo Grubs one of my favorite paleo blogs).

I’m usually a microwaver of the squash for convenience sake but this time I decided to use Martha Stewart’s method of roasting and it came out perfectly done.

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

In fact, the squash I used was so huge only half this amount went into the recipe. Also a word to the wise drain your noodles once you scrape them out. I did not and ended up with a lot of moisture in the finished dish I had to drain later.

Hope you enjoy the tastiness!

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara


1 small to medium spaghetti squash cooked or roasted with flesh scooped out

5 pcs bacon

½ onion diced

1 tsp chopped garlic

2 eggs

¼ C. almond or coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste


While squash is baking, fry the bacon, crumble, set aside, and reserve about half of the grease. In a small bowl mix the eggs with the milk adding salt and pepper to taste. Cook onions in the grease on medium high heat, when almost done add the garlic and cook until fragrant (don’t let the garlic burn). Add the squash into the pan with the onions and garlic and stir to coat. Lower heat to low and slowly drizzle the egg mixture over the squash stirring to coat. Cook until you no longer see raw egg. This should make a creamy coating for the noodles and not look like scrambled eggs. Serve and enjoy!



Sandy Carpenter

Busy working Mom of two and wife of one. Trying to eat healthier so I feel better and convincing my family to do the same!

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara
82102let-the-race-begin-8 http://blogs.columbian.com/political-beat/2016/06/03/let-the-race-begin/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Lauren_Dake_110_1-150x150.jpg

Tim Probst, who is running to replace Sen. Don Benton in Olympia, filed his personal financial statement late.
And the Washington State Republican Party noticed.
“Why is partisan Democrat Tim Probst trying to hide his six-figure government paycheck from the voters?” said WSRP Chair Susan Hutchison in a press release. “State law requires candidates to disclose their financial affairs to avoid conflicts of interest. What else is Tim Probst trying to hide?”
Marsha Manning, the treasurer with the Probst campaign, did respond to the public disclosure commission complaint.
“This was an oversight on the part of the campaign as the original filing for this campaign began in 2013,” Manning wrote. “Mr. Probst did complete the (financial statement or F1) on May 11, 2016.”
It is currently on file with the public disclosure commission and available for the public to see.
Officially, Probst’s campaign responded in-kind with, “Tim is running a positive campaign and is focusing on important issues like equal pay for women, re-building the middle class and getting big money out of politics.”
Nick Ande, who is running Probst’s campaign, added it’s an attack in the hopes of distorting Probst’s record.
“It’s the same playbook Don Benton used to win by (76) votes four years ago,” Ande wrote.

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or lauren.dake@columbian.com. Follow her on Twitter .

82104jhb-keeps-quiet-on-trump-8 http://blogs.columbian.com/political-beat/2016/06/03/jhb-keeps-quiet-on-trump/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Lauren_Dake_110_1-150x150.jpg

House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday he will vote for the GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

Previously, Ryan said he was “not ready” to back Trump, but reversed course writing in an editorial that “on the issues that make up (the Republican) agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement.”

I wondered if this would bring the rest of the Republican party around, including U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas.

I wasn’t the only one.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee quickly fired off an email, saying Herrera Beutler has followed Ryan’s talking points to delay endorsing Trump.

“Now that Ryan has ended his charade, we can only expect that Herrera Beutler … will also stop playing word games and endorse Trump’s toxic campaign, to which they are already inseparably tied,” Barb Solish of the DCCC wrote in an email.

Not so soon.

I asked Herrera Beutler’s campaign and they responded saying she had “nothing new” to add.

The last time she spoke to The Columbian at the end of April she said she wasn’t sure “the right person for the job” of U.S. President was running.

Herrera Beutler initially endorsed Marco Rubio.

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or lauren.dake@columbian.com. Follow her on Twitter .

75251trail-mix-blazers-rise-in-espns-future-power-rankings-3 http://blogs.columbian.com/blazer-banter/2016/06/02/trail-mix-blazers-rise-in-espns-future-power-rankings/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Trail-Blazers-Kings-B_acco-6.jpg

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

We are a mere handful of hours away from Game 1 of the NBA Finals as the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will battle for the second season in a row. Stephen Curry and the 73-win Warriors go up against LeBron James, trying to get one for #TheLand. My podcast co-host Sean Highkin and I have a Finals preview that we recorded after the Warriors punched their ticket to the dance.

Now that we have our homegrown Finals content up front, let’s get to what you came here for: a collection of all the important stuff written on your Blazers this week.

We begin with ESPN’s Future Power Rankings, compiled by insiders Kevin Pelton and Chad Ford. As expected, the Blazers made a considerable jump after a second round appearance and battle against the Warriors.

From Pelton 

While we were relatively optimistic about the Trail Blazers in September, they’ve still tied for the largest jump since then. Portland moved back into the top 10 after not only defying expectations by making the playoffs but winning a series (albeit aided by the Clippers’ injuries) and competing with the Warriors in the second round.

Now, the Blazers have the opportunity to clear max space while retaining their young core, led by the dynamic backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. That’s possible because GM Neil Olshey locked up young free agents Al-Farouq Aminu and Ed Davis to contracts that look like enormous bargains.

The Blazers’ future is bright. However, success in the NBA is rarely cheap, this past season being an exception. Danny Leroux penned a detailed piece for The Sporting News on how the success of the Blazers could and probably will affect their cap sheet.  The Blazers are expected to swing big in free agency with the ability clear max cap space, but what Leroux nails is that keeping their own free agents will likely cost a pretty penny.

ESPN showcased the Blazers later on in the week when they released their “Famous 100,” a ranking of the 100 most famous athletes, based on an algorithm which includes salary, endorsements, social media following and Google search popularity.  Portland’s Damian Lillard clocked in at 45, just behind Blake Griffin (43) but ahead of fashion icon and elite guard Russell Westbrook (48).

The Blazers success has also earned them a guest appearance in the latest “Game of Zones,” which is Bleacher Report’s amazing NBA-themed “Game of Thrones” parody.

In actual important news that greatly affects the team but doesn’t really draw a lot of attention, the Blazers finalized their coaching staff on Wednesday. As part of the finalized coaching staff, assistant coach Dale Osbourne was promoted to the front of the bench and advance scout John McCollugh was added to the staff. Sought after assistant Nate Tibbetts, who interviewed for the Memphis head coaching job and the lead assistant job with the Warriors will stay, as well as David Vanterpool, the longest-tenured assistant on the staff along with Osbourne. Jim Moran, who was added to the staff last season to help coach the big men, will be back for his second season.

More snacks




Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on ESPN.com's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

Trail Mix: Blazers rise in ESPN’s future power rankings
82106clinton-wins-wa-8 http://blogs.columbian.com/political-beat/2016/05/27/clinton-wins-wa/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Lauren_Dake_110_1-150x150.jpg

Hillary Clinton won the Washington state primary on Tuesday.

Bernie Sanders overwhelmingly won the Washington state caucuses.

The results from the Democratic primary will largely be ignored, but they could provoke a change in the system.

As Melissa Santos with the News Tribune wrote, “almost three times as many Democrats had voted in the primary as participated in Democrats’ March 26 precinct caucuses.”

And that could mean Democrats change the way their primary system in the future.

State Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, told Santos “caucuses have a romantic image and play a meaningful role in terms of activism and energy, but that a primary is more Democratic and reflective of the broader values of the population.”

But others have pointed out that Sanders’ supporters knew their vote wouldn’t count for much in the primary.

In 2018 or 2019, the Washington State Democratic Central Committee plans to vote on whether to rely on the presidential primary or caucus system to allocate its delegates.

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or lauren.dake@columbian.com. Follow her on Twitter .

82108your-vote-counts-well-kind-of-8 http://blogs.columbian.com/political-beat/2016/05/24/your-vote-counts-well-kind-of/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/11/john-oliver-600x400.jpg

Every election season, there are those people who don’t bother to vote.

They forget. They’re not inspired. They feel like their vote doesn’t matter.

For once, they might have a point.

Tonight is Washington state’s primary. The GOP presumptive nominee is Donald Trump, although Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and John Kasich remain on the ballot. And the Democrats will largely ignore the primary results.

“So you know your awful friend who says he doesn’t vote because he feels like his vote doesn’t count?” John Oliver, the comedian and host of Last Week Tonight on HBO said. “If he’s a Washington Democrat participating in the primary, he’s right. He’s still awful, but he is right.”

Technically Oliver is right.

Check out his video:

Democrats allocate their delegates according to results of precinct caucuses, which were held March 26. Bernie Sanders was the clear winner.

But this is still a chance for Democrats to let their voice be heard. There was a lot of upset people after the caucuses. This is an opportunity for voters to show whether the caucuses align with the state’s Democratic voters.

“This is a good way to let every voter participate,” said Cathie Garber. “At a caucus there is usually 5 percent of eligible voters. If you look at turnout for a regular election, there is a big difference.

Republicans will allocate all 44 delegates to their national convention based on the primary results.

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or lauren.dake@columbian.com. Follow her on Twitter .

Your vote counts … well, kind of
82111goodspace-guy-for-governor-8 http://blogs.columbian.com/political-beat/2016/05/20/goodspace-guy-for-governor/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Lauren_Dake_110_1-150x150.jpg

Sam Kim, Clark County’s chief information officer, generated a buzz this week when the lifelong Republican filed to run as an “independent Democrat.”

It was unusual that he was switching parties.

But also, what is an independent Democrat?

And he wasn’t the only one.

Tim Probst, who is vying for Sen. Benton’s seat, and Kathy Gillespie, who is running for the 18th Legislative District, also filed as independent Democrats.

“For Tim, he’s always been very independent minded and bucked his party in a lot of trends and very consistent with the independent nature of the district,” said Nick Ande, Probst’s campaign manager.

A candidate, it turns out, can state any party they would like, using 16 characters.

“Party preference is entirely the candidate’s decision,” Cathie Garber, with the Clark County Election Division.

And they can also write any name, which is evident by Kathleen “Grandma Warrior” Arthur who is running for the 3rd Congressional District and Goodspaceguy, a Republican, is running for governor.

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or lauren.dake@columbian.com. Follow her on Twitter .

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Gov. Jay Inslee visited Vancouver’s future waterfront park on Wednesday and called it a center of economic expansion that will benefit the entire state.

As Inslee walked along the river, the Interstate-5 bridge loomed in the background.

Inslee said if he’s re-elected he will once again try to gain momentum for replacing the aging bridge.

In the previous two legislative sessions, some Southwest Washington lawmakers tried to create momentum to form a coalition of lawmakers from both sides of the river to revive discussions of a crossing over the Columbia River. The efforts failed.

It’s a project of importance to the entire state, Inslee said on Wednesday, not only Clark County.

Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, a fierce opponent of the defunct Columbia River Crossing project, has announced he isn’t seeking re-election.

When Inslee was asked whether it might be easier to gain consensus with Benton retiring, the governor replied, “markedly.”

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or lauren.dake@columbian.com. Follow her on Twitter .

Building bridges
82562clark-is-5th-fastest-growing-county-in-last-5-years-7 http://blogs.columbian.com/digital-desk/2016/05/20/clark-is-5th-fastest-growing-county-in-last-5-years/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Screen-Shot-2016-05-20-at-12.02.27-PM-1024x961-490x460.png

Clark County’s population grew by 8 percent based on 5-year population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday, May 19, 2016, making the county the fifth fastest-growing in the state. The four faster growing counties include Franklin, King, Benton and Snohomish.

If you look at just the past year, though, Clark grew by 2 percent, tying it with Benton as the 3rd fastest growing county.

Where is Clark County’s growth coming from? Some of it is what the Census Bureau calls “natural increase,” meaning births minus deaths. The rest is from migration, both domestic and international. Clark County grew by about 34,132 in total population the past five years. Of that about 12,149 came from within the county as a natural increase and about 21,085 stemmed from migration. And of those who’ve migrated here most have come from within the U.S., about 18,194, while about 2,891 came from abroad.

Use the map below to further explore the data.

John Hill

John is the web and photo editor at The Columbian, where he has worked since 1995 in various roles. A journalist for the past 25 years, he's a fan of good storytelling, data, graphics and still likes to read an actual newspaper. Twitter: @hilljohng

Clark is 5th fastest growing county in last 5 years
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Banana Pancakes

As you may have guessed, I heart bananas. I also heart pancakes but they don’t heart me back so here is a healthier, yet still tasty version. Also I don’t love just any bananas. I love those brown, almost black, mushy ones that you’re thinking ‘maybe I should just throw away’. Wait! Don’t toss them! Those brown beauties are just waiting to be mashed into a recipe like this one or these pancakes. I’m always on the look out for the discounted brown bananas in the grocery store to grab up for just such a recipe.

Banana Pancakes

This recipe comes from StayFitMom and is a great gluten free option as well. I first tried banana pancakes without the coconut flour but those are very hard to flip. The coconut flour in these adds just enough body to increase their flipability exponentially (I just graduated from college hence the fancy shmancy words).

Banana Pancakes

And since breakfast for dinner is pretty popular around here (no Mommy guilt over it either) this is a great option for any time of the day.

Banana Pancakes

I upped the cinnamon when I made them but you could even leave it out. A word to the wise however, don’t be lazy like me and think you can just eyeball the vanilla and then dump two big “glugs” into the bowl making for a very vanilla-ish batter. Seriously learn from me kids, don’t try it at home. Use those pretty measuring spoons people.

Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes


1 ripe banana

2 eggs

1 Tbsp. coconut flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla


Mash banana. Mix in eggs, coconut flour, cinnamon and vanilla. Heat a large pan with coconut oil or another healthy oil of your choice. Drop batter into pan making small to medium pancakes. This yielded about 6 medium pancakes for me. Flip after 2-3 minutes. Enjoy.




Sandy Carpenter

Busy working Mom of two and wife of one. Trying to eat healthier so I feel better and convincing my family to do the same!

Banana Pancakes
82565take-a-look-at-who-benefitted-from-countys-fee-waivers-7 http://blogs.columbian.com/digital-desk/2016/05/16/take-a-look-at-who-benefitted-from-countys-fee-waivers/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Screen-Shot-2016-05-16-at-1.54.09-PM-1024x938-502x460.png

The jury is still out on whether Clark County has seen a flood of new jobs resulting from a decision in 2013 to waive traffic impact and application fees for all nonresidential development in unincorporated areas.

The county has experienced job growth, including a 3.9% jump last month that outpaced national, state and regional numbers. Proponents of the fee waivers have said it’s proof they’re working, but skeptics remain. If you read reporter Kaitlin Gillespie’s recent story on at the fee waivers, you’ll see there are many perspectives on the issue.

In the meantime, we’ve taken data obtained from the county by Gillespie to create a map below showing where the 300-plus applicants for fee waivers are located. You can filter your view of the map by the total fees waived and the projected new jobs each applicant is expecting to create. Each dot on the map is color-coded by the fees waived and the size of each dot varies according to the projected jobs for that applicant. The larger the dot, the more jobs. Take a look and see who’s benefitted so far from the waivers.

John Hill

John is the web and photo editor at The Columbian, where he has worked since 1995 in various roles. A journalist for the past 25 years, he's a fan of good storytelling, data, graphics and still likes to read an actual newspaper. Twitter: @hilljohng

Take a look at who benefitted from county’s fee waivers
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When apple prices drop, the employees at the Vancouver Education Association know to prepare themselves.

Chicken wire is already around all the windows. Crates are in front of the chicken wire, placed at a 45-degree angle, so when the apple comes flying through the air they hit the crate and bounce away from the building.

The apples have broken windows. They’ve clogged the drain. They’ve caused thousands of dollars of damage.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray is campaigning for her fifth term in Congress and once again, some of her opponents have encouraged throwing apples on the rooftops of her supporters. But this election cycle, the reports of people receiving letters are seemingly more frequent.

Several individuals have reported receiving a note, signed “Titania” that warns people apples might be thrown on their roofs.

“Dear reader of this note,” it says. “We have been throwing (apples on) rooftops of supporters of Patty Murray, usually just before dawn. Because some people have windows up there where the roof is, we’ve broken a few of them; but please understand that this is happening by accident. It is sometimes difficult to see in the predawn murkiness and we thought about apologizing for the damage. But in the spirit of Murray and Obama, we are not apologizing; like them we have no intention of fixing anything.”

There haven’t been any reports of someone actually throwing the apples, or breaking personal property, to The Columbian until now.

Rick Wilson, with the VEA, said the apple-throwing has been steady at the education association’s offices. A man on a bike, with long, red hair, stands across the street and chucks the apples, Wilson said.

Wilson noted the association supports candidates on both sides of the aisle.

“The last major election we had signs for both Republicans and Democrats,” he said.

In previous years, similar letters have circulated about Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.

Rotten tomatoes caused a stir in Vancouver when they were left in President Barack Obama supporters’ yards.

In the last year, Wilson said, the apple thrower has been outside the office windows 30 to 40 times.

“He’s been an incredible nuisance to us,” Wilson said. “He’s damaged property and caused significant issues.”

Kim Kapp, with the Vancouver Police Department, said officials from the department have chatted with the city’s attorney’s office and there’s not a lot they can do.

“They are not considered threats under criminal harassment laws because there is no threat to hurt anybody and it’s difficult to prove a crime like trespass or vandalism, because there’s no suspect information,” Kapp said.



Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or lauren.dake@columbian.com. Follow her on Twitter .

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Owning a home has long been considered by many people to be a key piece of attaining the so-called American dream.

It appears that now that also means having about 600 square feet per person. As business editor Gordon Oliver reported last Sunday, American families have steadily gotten smaller since the 1970s but homes have gotten bigger. With that in mind, we took a look at three different homes from three distinct eras which you can read about in Oliver’s story and see firsthand in this video by digital producer Ariane Kunze.

You can also see where the larger homes have been built over the years in Clark County with this visualization below that we constructed using 2015 data from the Clark County Assessor’s office.

In the past 40 years, homes in Clark County have grown from an average of 1,545 square feet in the 1970s to an average of 2,372 square feet in the last 5 years, a 53.5% increase. If the trend holds for the next decade or two, that number could reasonably be expected to jump to 2,700 square feet or more. The percentage of homes being built in this county that are 3,000 square feet or larger in the past 5 years is nearly 20%, something you can see in this chart.

Perhaps the only thing holding us back from building homes bigger is economic factors such as the cost of land and building materials as Oliver reports. The economy itself is, of course, also an ever-present looming factor as shown during the early recession of the 1980s and again after the tech and housing bubbles burst.

John Hill

John is the web and photo editor at The Columbian, where he has worked since 1995 in various roles. A journalist for the past 25 years, he's a fan of good storytelling, data, graphics and still likes to read an actual newspaper. Twitter: @hilljohng

Homes just keep getting bigger and biggerer
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“I think we can all do things. Sometimes fear holds us back. Maybe when people read this story, they’ll think: If she can do that, we can adopt a kid and give them a life.”~Julia Griffith

Some members of the Griffith family take advantage of warm spring weather as they sit down to a homecooked meal Thursday evening, April 21, 2016 in Ridgefield. Pictured are Jennica Griffith, 12, clockwise from front left, Mirlie Griffith, 18, mom Julia Griffith, Silas Griffith, 16, and Samson Griffith, 15. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

Single Mother of Seven Adopted Children Finds Balance in School/Kids/Farm

Julia Griffith, from left, shares a laugh and a hug with her daughter, Mirlie, 18, as Samson, 15, and Jennica, 12, are seen in the background Thursday evening, April 21, 2016 in Ridgefield. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

Single Mother of Seven Adopted Children Finds Balance in School/Kids/Farm

Julia Griffith feeds some of her feathered friends before the family sits down to dinner Thursday evening, April 21, 2016 in Ridgefield. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

Single Mother of Seven Adopted Children Finds Balance in School/Kids/Farm

Julia Griffith joins hands with her daughter, Mirlie, 18, on Thursday evening, April 21, 2016 in Ridgefield. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

Single Mother of Seven Adopted Children Finds Balance in School/Kids/Farm

Mirlie Griffith, 18, pauses to look over family photos while enjoying a sunny evening on the farm Thursday evening, April 21, 2016 in Ridgefield. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

Single Mother of Seven Adopted Children Finds Balance in School/Kids/Farm

Samson Griffith, 15, from left, his brother, Silas, 16, and his sister, Mirlie, 18, watch as Silas’ shot goes into the hoop Thursday evening, April 21, 2016 in Ridgefield. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

Single Mother of Seven Adopted Children Finds Balance in School/Kids/Farm

Jennica Griffith, 12, from left, greets some of the family’s animals as her mom, Julia, checks the temperature of her brother, Samson, 15, after he complained of feeling under the weather Thursday evening, April 21, 2016 in Ridgefield. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

Single Mother of Seven Adopted Children Finds Balance in School/Kids/Farm

Silas Griffith, 16, left, and his sister, Mirlie, 18, share a sweet moment with the family Thursday evening, April 21, 2016 in Ridgefield. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

Single Mother of Seven Adopted Children Finds Balance in School/Kids/Farm

Members of the Griffith family pose for a family picture Thursday evening, April 21, 2016 in Ridgefield. Pictured are Jennica Griffith, 12, Samson Griffith, 15, mom Julia Griffith, Mirlie Griffith, 18, and Silas Griffith, 16. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

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When week three of Major League Soccer closed the Portland Timbers were 14th worst in overall team performance – that has changed – but not for the better!

Portland are now 16th worst in overall team performance – taking into account how well (and how well their opponent’s) possess, pass, penetrate, create, and score goals.

I’ll speak more a bit later about the Timbers – for now here’s some thoughts about the rest of the league first.

Portland slow out of the gate again!

And to clarify – my power rankings are purely objective – no fancy opinions – no feelings – no indirect or direct influence by one person over another – it’s clinical, objective, published in Europe, and presented at the 2014 World Conference on Science and Soccer.

Bottom line here – there is no subjectivity and how a team finished last year has absolutely no bearing on where that team started and ranks this year.

Some thoughts about the teams after week ten:

The CPWP Index – two views…

Portland slow out of the gate again!

Portland slow out of the gate again!

Over the remainder of the year I’m going to offer up four teams who fit these categories the best:

And to follow that some additional insight for your consideration (the way to really see why you can’t simply look at attacking or defending statistics separately – you must look at them together)

Portland slow out of the gate again!

The diagram above shows Attacking PWP only – this is strictly the statistical roll up of each teams attacking team performance.  Note the four blue bars – these are the top three teams in each conference.  Now my observations relative to what the Index shows:

Here’s the Defending PWP Index – same approach applies here – this is a statistical roll up of each teams defending team performance ((i.e. how well the opponents’ combined attacking PWP data goes against their defenders); again the top three teams in each conference are shown with blue bars:

Portland slow out of the gate again!

A dash of statistics and then my closing on the Timbers: