128205county-eyes-free-parks-parking-for-disabled-vets https://blogs.columbian.com/all-politics-is-local/county-eyes-free-parks-parking-for-disabled-vets/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Medvigy-1024x576-600x338.jpg

The Clark County Council is looking at providing free parking to some disabled veterans at county parks. Lindsey Hueer, senior policy analyst for the county, said the council was approached by residents to create a program similar to the state’s free parking pass.

“If somebody is a disabled veteran who possesses (the state) pass, and they show that to county parks staff and they also display that in their vehicle when they’re using the park, that they would be exempt from the requirement to pay the parking fee,” Hueer told the council.

Washington State Parks provides a lifetime parking pass to disabled veterans with 30 percent or greater service-connected disabilities and who are residents of the state.

“There wouldn’t be an independent determination by county staff whether somebody is a disabled veteran. We’re not looking at anyone’s medical records. We’re merely utilizing the state pass,” Hueer added.

Councilor Gary Medvigy suggested a National Parks Service parking pass could also be used as proof of disability status. Medvigy, who is a disabled veteran, said he doesn’t have a state pass but does have a National Parks Service pass. However, the National Parks Service does not have a disabled veterans programs but does issue free passes to current U.S. military members and their dependents, U.S. military veterans, and Gold Star Families, according to its website.

“One of the biggest challenges for me when I retired was trying to figure out what pass I needed,” Medvigy said. “It was really hard to discover all the passes you needed at any particular state, county or federal park. I want to simplify this as much as we can.”

Clark County parking passes for 2022 are $30 and are valid at Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park, Lewisville Regional Park, Salmon Creek Regional Park/Klineline Pond and Vancouver Lake Regional Park.

Hueer said county staff would prepare a resolution to bring back before the council at a future date.

12819310-tips-to-stay-on-track https://blogs.columbian.com/sherri-mcmillan/2022/05/18/10-tips-to-stay-on-track/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Jamie-05-2022-1-1024x501-600x294.jpg

When you start a health and fitness program, everyone has the intention of sticking with it. Often though, motivation fades, boredom may set in, and time constraints make it easy to quit.

If you feel yourself getting off track, remind yourself that your health is very important.

Tips to Help Adhere to Your Goals:

10 Tips to Stay on TrackSet an appointment

Schedule a workout with a friend, co-worker or trainer that you are forced to commit to. This can help you re-set and pickup right where you left off.

Buy some new workout clothes or shoes

Sometimes just getting some new workout gear or a new pair of running shoes can make you more excited to get your workout in.

Set a reward

Establish a behavior or action that you want to commit to and a reward for making it. For example, tell yourself if you work out five times this week, you’ll schedule a massage or if you stick to your nutrition plan all week, you’ll buy tickets to that show that you really want to see. Extrinsic rewards can be helpful to get you over any humps you may be experiencing. 


Write down the benefits you hope to achieve by sticking to your program. Reflect on your ‘WHY’. Write down your progress so far. Taking the time to remind yourself why you have committed to your health and fitness and the benefits you’ve experienced thus far can be helpful to keep you on track. 

Watch motivational clips

Podcasts, YouTube and TikTok are full of motivational clips that can get you fired up to reach for your best. 

Do something new

Take a new class. Hire a trainer to design a new program for you to follow. Try a new piece of fitness equipment. Get outside. Find a new trail to walk, run or bike. Trying something you’ve never done before can help eliminate the boredom that can creep in when you’re doing the same thing all the time. 

Music motivates

When you’re not feeling it, put on some energetic music that motivates you to move and take action. 

Give yourself a short-term, easy goal

Sometimes we need to give ourselves a goal that is easy to hit, something to commit to within the next 24 hours, just to get us back on track. It could be as simple as walking around the block after dinner, eating a salad for lunch, filling your water bottle to take to work or doing 10 pushups when you wake in the morning. Feeling a sense of success can help keep you motivated. 

Set some benchmarks and performance goals

It can be exciting to see quantitative, measurable results. For example, walk or run a mile today and see how quick you can do it. Commit to sticking to your program for a month and then redo the mile to see how much you’ve improved. You can choose any type of performance gauge that will motivate you such as cycling, rowing, or swimming. You can do the same with strength moves such as pushups, pullups, squats etc. You can gauge your strength improvements in repetitions and/or resistance lifted. 

Change your mindset

Stop asking yourself ‘Should I workout today?” because the answer to that question should always be “yes”….unless you’re sick of course. You should always do something to move your body and focus on your health, but it doesn’t need to be a hard workout every time. Instead ask yourself “What should I do today to focus on my health and fitness” assuming that you will do something, and you just need to determine what that will be today. Likewise, stop thinking “I have to work out”, and change that to “I get to work out”, as not everyone has that ability. Remember to be grateful for your health and your ability to move your body. Don’t take that for granted!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

128197kelsos-josie-settle-and-erin-tack-top-3a-greater-st-helens-league-girls-track-and-field-all-league-team https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/05/18/kelsos-josie-settle-and-erin-tack-top-3a-greater-st-helens-league-girls-track-and-field-all-league-team/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Track0067-600x400.jpg

All-league team as selected by league coaches:

Track athlete of the year: Josie Settle, jr., Kelso.

Field athlete of the year: Erin Tack, sr., Kelso.


Brianna Morrell, sr., 100, Prairie

Mallory Davenport, so., 100, Heritage

Brianna Morrell, sr., 200, Prairie

Morgan Hill, sr., 200, Prairie

Maya Swanson, fr., 400, Kelso

Morgan Hill, sr., 400, Prairie

Suzie Johnson, sr., 800, Prairie

Olivia Jones, sr., 800, Prairie

Beatrice LeGore, sr., 1,600, Evergreen

Suzie Johnson, sr., 1,600, Prairie

Beatrice LeGore, sr., 3,200, Evergreen

Claire Rogge, fr., 3,200, Evergreen

Kara Mattson, sr., 100H, Prairie

Grace Twiss, sr., 100H, Evergreen

Grace Twiss, sr., 300H, Evergreen

Josie Settle, jr., 300H, Kelso

Kara Mattson, sr., LJ, Prairie

Josie Settle, jr., LJ, Kelso

Josie Settle, jr., TJ, Kelso

Kara Mattson, sr., TJ, Prairie

Josie Settle, sr., HJ, Kelso

Nico Field, so., HJ, Heritage

Erin Tack, sr., SP, Kelso

Ruby Sereday, jr., SP, Kelso

Erin Tack, sr., JAV, Kelso

Julia Oglevie, sr., JAV, Evergreen

Hanna Kim, sr., DIS, Kelso

Yana Paskar, sr., DIS, Prairie

Rielee Gourde, jr., PV, Kelso

Sierra Bowers, jr., PV, Prairie

128200kamren-mattison-branden-chou-and-nikolas-strait-top-3a-greater-st-helens-league-boys-track-and-field-all-league-team https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/05/18/kamren-mattison-branden-chou-and-nikolas-strait-top-3a-greater-st-helens-league-boys-track-and-field-all-league-team/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/05/0512_spt_Track0110-600x400.jpg

All-league team as selected by league coaches:

Track athletes of the year: Branden Chou, sr., Mountain View; Kamren Mattison, jr., Kelso.

Field athlete of the year: Nikloas Strait, sr., Mountain View


Charles Dayton, sr., 100, Evergreen

James Berthune, fr., 100, Evergreen

Charles Dayton, sr., 200, Evergreen

James Berthune, fr., 200, Evergreen

LaDaimien McCord, jr., 400, Evergreen

Ethan Cabral, so., 400, Prairie

Branden Chou, sr., 800, Mountain View

Aiden Walker, so., 800, Prairie

Kamren Mattison, jr., 1,600, Kelso

Branden Chou, sr., 1,600, Mountain View

Kamren Mattison, jr., 3,200, Kelso

Lorenzo Anguiano, sr., 3,200, Evergreen

Kyle Chen, jr., 110H, Mountain View

Kedyn Bolds, jr., 110H, Mountain View

Solomon Ogbeama, so., 300H, Prairie

Kyle Chen, jr., 300H, Mountain View

Judah Calixte, jr., LJ, Kelso

Colby Cooper, sr., LJ, Kelso

Judah Calixte, jr., TJ, Kelso

Evan Davis, jr., TJ, Prairie

Quincy Lopez, sr., HJ, Heritage

Kai Chaney, jr., HJ, Kelso

Juan Pasillas-Stanton, fr., SP, Mountain View

David Kailea, sr., SP, Evergreen

Colby Cooper, sr., JAV, Kelso

Henry Hyde, sr., JAV, Kelso

Nikolas Strait, sr., DIS, Mountain View

Brady Phillips, jr., DIS, Kelso

Xavier Wubbena, sr., PV, Mountain View

Jake Webb, sr., PV, Kelso

128185skyviews-kya-jenkins-and-maddie-milhorn-top-4a-greater-st-helens-league-softball-all-league-team https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/05/18/skyviews-kya-jenkins-and-maddie-milhorn-top-4a-greater-st-helens-league-softball-all-league-team/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/05/4AGSHLsoft-600x400.jpg

All-league team as selected by league coaches:

Player of the year: Kya Jenkins, sr., Skyview

Pitcher of the year: Maddie Milhorn, fr., Skyview


Rylee Rehbein, jr., P, Battle Ground

Ellie Forster, so., 1B, Camas

Addie Harmier, fr., 2B, Skyview

Kayla Brusseau, so., SS, Union

Ashley Griffith, sr., 3B, Union

Lauren Johnson, sr., C, Skyview

Azlin Wong, so., C, Camas

Emma Elliott, sr., OF, Battle Ground

Savannah Kvistad, so., OF, Camas

Candice Adams, so., OF, Battle Ground

Mikaela Lovergren, so., DP, Union

Kelly Monaghan, sr., UT, Battle Ground


P: McKinley Ermshar, so., Union; Cadence Gruenberg, sr., Battle Ground; 1B: Skylar Groesbeck, sr., Skyview; Alex Yelverton, so., Union; 2B: Maggie Tumelty, jr., Union; SS: Hailey Ferguson, so., Battle Ground; 3B: Livingston Gruenberg, sr., Battle Ground; C: Kamryn Buck, sr., Union; OF: Shaniniah Cassidy, so., Union; Maddi Scull, jr., Skyview; Averie Sievers, sr., Skyview; UT: Brooke Rausch, fr., Battle Ground.

Coach of the year: Jeremy Barr, Battle Ground

128188mountain-views-mary-fogg-and-heritages-makenzie-misner-top-3a-greater-st-helens-league-softball-all-league-team https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/05/18/mountain-views-mary-fogg-and-heritages-makenzie-misner-top-3a-greater-st-helens-league-softball-all-league-team/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/05/softball-fsa-logo-1024x640-600x375.jpg

All-league team as selected by league coaches:

Player of the year: Mary Fogg, sr., Mountain View

Pitcher of the year: Makenzie Misner, sr., Heritage


Rylee Wall, so., P, Prairie

Jade Hayslip, so., P, Prairie

Ava Lechner, so., 1B, Mountain View

Payton Blunt, fr., 1B, Prairie

Abbey Bishop, sr., 2B, Prairie

Haley Dowell, so., 2B, Heritage

Mckayla White, so., SS, Evergreen

Cayleigh White, jr., SS, Heritage

Kai Fraly, sr., 3B, Prairie

Larissa Villa, sr., 3B, Heritage

Kadence Burleson, so., C, Evergreen

Kaliann Newberry, so., C, Heritage

Pravina Blunk, sr., OF, Prairie

Kaydence Mackin, jr., OF, Kelso

Ava Granier, sr., OF, Evergreen

Trinity King, sr., DP, Mountain View

Lexi Grumbois, jr., UT, Kelso

Kylie Stroup, so., UT, Heritage


P: Breanna King, sr., Mountain View; 1B: Lydia Schwenker, so., Heritage; 2B: Sydney Parsons, sr., Kelso; SS: Ashlee Porter, fr., Prairie; 3B: Lauren Fitzgerald, sr., Mountain View; C: Juliann Lindsey, sr., Prairie; OF: Maleena Blunk, sr., Prairie; Taylor Frost, so., Heritage; DP: Shelby Stewart, sr., Heritage; UT: Delaney Bollman, so., Evergreen.

Coach of the year: Mariah Dawson, Prairie

128173tobias-merriweather-hunter-greene-top-4a-greater-st-helens-league-boys-track-and-field-all-league-team https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/05/17/tobias-merriweather-hunter-greene-top-4a-greater-st-helens-league-boys-track-and-field-all-league-team/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Track0097-600x400.jpg

All-league team as selected by league coaches:

Track athlete of the year: Tobias Merriweather, sr., Union

Field athlete of the year: Hunter Greene, sr., Camas


Tobias Merriweather, sr., 100, Union

Eric Botnen, so., 100, Skyview

Tobias Merriweather, sr., 200, Union

Aiden Montigny, sr., 200, Camas

Aiden Montigny, sr., 400, Camas

Joshua McKinstry, jr., 400, Camas

Grayson Caldwell, so., 800, Union

Samuel Sheppert, jr., 800, Skyview

James Puffer, jr., 1,600, Camas

Ben Gamblin, sr., 1,600, Battle Ground

Hayden Reich, jr., 3,200, Camas

Marius Lafond-Kervegant, so., 3,200, Union

Benjamin Haywood, so., 110H, Union

Tyler Vanderwood, sr., 110H, Camas

Benjamin Haywood, so., 300H, Union

Tyler Vanderwood, sr., 300H, Camas

Aiden Montigny, sr., LJ, Camas

Korey Bozovich, sr., LJ, Union

Porter Hill, sr., TJ, Union

Taeven Hill, so., TJ, Union

Hayden Day, sr., HJ, Union

Benjamin Haywood, so., HJ, Union

Hunter Greene, sr., SP, Camas

Joel Lee, sr., SP, Union

Hunter Greene, sr., DIS, Camas

Torin Pasa, jr., DIS, Camas

Jared Williams, so., JAV, Camas

Joel Lee, sr., JAV, Union

Chase McGee, fr., PV, Camas

Brody Larson, sr., PV, Battle Ground

Coach of the year: Zachary Young, Camas

128176madison-hubbard-emem-ntekpere-and-ariel-ammentorp-top-4a-greater-st-helens-league-girls-track-and-field-all-league-team https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/05/17/madison-hubbard-emem-ntekpere-and-ariel-ammentorp-top-4a-greater-st-helens-league-girls-track-and-field-all-league-team/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/05/4AGSHLGirls-600x400.jpg

All-league team as selected by league coaches:

Track athletes of the year: Madison Hubbard, jr., Camas; Emem Ntekpere, jr., Skyview

Field athlete of the year: Ariel Ammentorp, sr., Union


Madison Hubbard, jr., 100, Camas

Dea Covarrubias, fr., 100, Skyview

Madison Hubbard, jr., 200, Camas

Dea Covarrubias, fr., 200, Skyview

Eliisa Marshall, fr., 400, Camas

Evelyn Reed, fr., 400, Skyview

Elissa Marshall, fr., 800, Camas

Daphne Evenson, fr., 800, Skyview

Jaylyn Lehner, jr., 1,600, Union

Daphne Evensen, fr., 1,600, Skyview

Bethany McKinstry, fr., 3,200, Camas

Charlotte Wilson, so., 3,200, Union

Emem Ntekpere, jr., 100H, Skyview

Kit Greenhill, jr, 100H, Camas

Emem Ntekpere, jr., 300H, Skyview

Rowyn Riley, so., 300H, Skyview

Faizah Ford, so., LJ, Battle Ground

Madison Hubbard, jr., LJ, Camas

Cecelia Fox-Middleton, sr., TJ, Skyview

Faizah Ford, so., TJ, Battle Ground

Emem Ntekpere, jr., HJ, Skyview

Karina Cooper, fr., HJ, Camas

Ariel Ammentorp, sr., SP, Union

Hannah Kim, jr, SP, Camas

Grace Combs, jr, JAV, Camas

Stephanie Leckwold, so., JAV, Camas

Ariel Ammentorp, sr., DIS, Union

Dorothy Franklin, sr., DIS, Camas

Karina Cooper, fr, PV, Camas

Lizzy Cerotsky, fr, PV, Camas

Coach of the year: Alisa Wise, Camas

128168makani-geisen-of-kings-way-christian-tops-trico-league-baseball-all-league-team https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/05/17/makani-geisen-of-kings-way-christian-tops-trico-league-baseball-all-league-team/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/05/0428_spt_KWC146-600x411.jpg

All-league team as selected by league coaches:

MVP: Makani Geisen, so., King’s Way Christian


Dax Clifton, sr., P, Seton Catholic

Tyler Normine, so., P, La Center

Alex Mora, so., P, La Center

Andrew Peru, jr., C, King’s Way Christian

Caden Taylor, fr., IF, La Center

Trevor Rogen, fr., IF, Castle Rock

Isaac Pisarczyk, jr., IF, King’s Way Christian

Smith Stimmel, so., IF, La Center

Justin Fuller, fr., OF, La Center

Wesley White, so., OF, Columbia-White Salmon

Marcus Whitney, jr., OF, King’s Way Christian


P: Owen Erickenson, fr., Castle Rock; Lucas Peterson, fr., Seton Catholic; Derek Tarnofski, fr., King’s Way Christian; C: Wyatt Bethje, so., La Center; UT: Garrett Maunu, so., La Center; IF: Bryson Sauter, jr., Columbia-White Salmon; Ben Garl, fr., King’s Way Christian; Ryker Ruelas, fr., Seton Catholic; Jacob Parker, fr., Seton Catholic; OF: Austin Mattson, sr., La Center; Sawyer Muehlbauer, fr., Columbia-White Salmon; Tony Enyeart, sr., Castle Rock.


Columbia-White Salmon: William Shute, sr.; Wyatt Stelma; King’s Way Christian: Carson Gilligan, jr.; Jace Barnes, jr.; Seton Catholic: Mason Glassmire, fr.; Garrett Nebeles, fr.

Coach of the year: Hunter Weiss, La Center.

128155kelsos-kamaile-correa-tops-3a-greater-st-helens-league-girls-tennis-all-league-team https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/05/16/kelsos-kamaile-correa-tops-3a-greater-st-helens-league-girls-tennis-all-league-team/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/05/0515_spt_Tennis0209-576x460.jpg

All-league teams as selected by league coaches:

Singles player of the year: Kamaile Correa, Kelso

Doubles players of the year: Lexi Frost/Ari Haygood, Mountain View



Susan Hong, Mountain View

Elsa Bice, Prairie

Jasmin Chu, Mountain View


Emma Av/Brynn DeSantis, Mountain View

Macy Grafton/Maggie Waddell, Kelso

Faith Reieve/Annika Reive, Mountain View


Singles: Betty To, Evergreen; Shayla Tran, Evergreen; Amelia Nelson, Prairie; Andrea Gutierrez-Hernandez, Kelso. Doubles: Azalia Coronado/Asley Leon-Marin, Evergreen; Abby Lemmon/Corissa Weimer, Prairie; Christina Nguyen/Nina Truong, Evergreen; Netty Mauer/Ella Chennault, Kelso.


Evergreen: Vanessa Quintero/Grace Huang; Heritage: Stephanie Duong, Megan Pham, Lindsay Kane; Julia Kane/Madisom Eckstrom; Mountain View: Siena Low; Prairie: Tatum Colpron; Claudia Neuman/Ellie Mathison; Emily Jijavadze/Daria Manzer.

128159jenna-lee-of-castle-rock-tops-trico-league-softball-all-league-team https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/05/16/jenna-lee-of-castle-rock-tops-trico-league-softball-all-league-team/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/05/softball-fsa-logo-1024x640-600x375.jpg

All-league teams as selected by league coaches:

Most valuable player: Jenna Lee, sr., Castle Rock

Offensive player of the year: Sydney Aman, jr., Columbia-White Salmon

Defensive player of the year: Maggie Bryan, jr., Columbia-White Salmon


Payton Kessler, sr., P, Castle Rock

Sofia Nelson, sr., P, King’s Way Christian

Kayla Clifford, sr., C, King’s Way Christian

Breanna Normine, sr., IF, La Center

Ella Reed, jr., IF, Columbia-White Salmon

Rhiannon Sibbett, sr., IF, Castle Rock

Rachel Squibb, sr., IF, Castl Rock

Macee Barnes, jr., OF, Columbia-White Salmon

Gigi Redman, sr., OF, Seton Catholic

Gracie Sibbett, so., OF, Castle Rock


P: Kierra Crate, jr., King’s Way Christian; C: Annie Marichalar, jr., Seton Catholic; IF: Teagan Blankenship, jr., Columbia-White Salmon; Olivia Lee, jr., La Center; Payton Ricketts, sr., Castle Rock; Hailey Wastrodowski, fr., Castle Rock; OF: Sophia Acosta, jr., Columbia-White Salmon; Katy Kutch, jr., Seton Catholic; Lindsey Logan, sr., Castle Rock.


Castle Rock: Jasmine Wagner, sr.; Columbia-White Salmon: Josie Dickey, fr.; Ella Wilson, sr.; King’s Way Christian: Autumn Gaudet, jr.; Grace Wickum, fr.; La Center: Emma Coulter, sr.; Jessica Tomberlin, fr.; Seton Catholic: Kailey Floyd, sr.; Ellie Travalia, fr.

Coach of the year: Jesse Bryan, Columbia-White Salmon

128147baseball-state-tournament-pairings https://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2022/05/15/baseball-state-tournament-pairings/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/05/1011435718-05-14-District-BB_5.13_TB01-548x460.jpg


Regional round, Saturday

Yakima Regional (County Stadium)

(11) Sumner vs. (6) Kamiakin, 10 a.m.
(14) Skyline vs. (3) West Valley-Yakima, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.

Puyallup Regional (Heritage Field)

(10) Tahoma vs. (7) Eastlake, 10 a.m.
(15) Bothell vs. (2) Puyallup, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.

Richland Regional (Richland HS)

(12) Curtis vs. (5) Moses Lake, 10 a.m.
(13) Mount Si vs. (4) Richland, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.

Lacey Regional (Regional Athletic Complex)

(9) Camas vs. (8) Issaquah, 10 a.m.
(16) Chiawana vs. (1) Olympia, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.


Play-in round, Tuesday

(19) Silas vs. (14) Eastside Catholic
(18) Gig Harbor vs. (15) Edmonds-Woodway
(20) Mountlake Terrace vs. (13) Bishop Blanchet
(17) Stanwood vs. (16) Kelso

Regional round, Saturday

Yakima Regional (Parker Field)

Silas or Eastside Catholic vs. (3) Kennewick, 10 a.m.
(11) Peninsula vs. (6) Lincoln-Seattle, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.

Snoqualmie Regional (Mount Si HS)

Gig Harbor or Edmonds-Woodway vs. (2) Lake Washington, 10 a.m.
(10) Mt. Spokane vs. (7) Lynnwood, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.

Auburn Regional (Auburn HS)

(12) Mercer Island vs. (5) Bainbridge, 10 a.m.
Mountlake Terrace or Bishop Blanchet vs. (4) Auburn, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.

Bellevue Regional (Bannerwood Park)

Stanwood or Kelso vs. (1) West Seattle, 10 a.m.
(9) Bonney Lake vs. (8) Walla Walla, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.


Regional round, Saturday

Yakima Regional (Davis HS)

(11) Enumclaw vs. (6) Lynden, 10 a.m.
(14) Shelton vs. (3) Ellensburg, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.

Vancouver Regional (Propstra Stadium)

(15) Steilacoom vs. (2) Columbia River, 10 a.m.
(10) Archbishop Murphy vs. (7) West Valley-Spokane, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.

Chehalis Regional (WF West HS)

(12) Fife vs. (5) Ephrata, 10 a.m.
(13) Shadle Park vs. (4) Tumwater, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.

Tacoma Regional (Foss HS)

(9) W.F. West vs. (8) Anacorte, 10 a.m.
(16) White River vs. (1) North Kitsap, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.


Regional round, Saturday

Wenatchee Regional (Wenatchee HS)

(14) Meridian vs. (3) Chelan, 10 a.m.
(11) Klahowya vs. (6) College Place, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.

Anacortes Regional (Anacortes HS)

(10) Royal vs. (7) La Center, 10 a.m.
(15) Elma vs. (2) Belleve Christian, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.

Spokane Regional (Ferris HS)

(12) University Prep vs. (5) Colville, 10 a.m.
(13) Overlake/Bear Creek vs. (4) Deer Park, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.

Mount Vernon Regional (Skagit CC)

(16) Quincy vs. (1) Cedar Park Christian-Bothell, 10 a.m.
(9) King’s Way Christian vs. (8) Naches Valley, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.


Regional round, Saturday

Spokane Regional (Shadle Park HS)

(11) Okanogan vs. (6) Tri-Cities Prep, 10 a.m.
(14) Toledo vs. (3) Chewelah, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.

Brewster Regional (Brewster HS)

(15) Warden vs. (2) Brewster, 10 a.m.
(10) Friday Harbor vs. (7) Kalama, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.

Adna Regional (Adna HS)

(12) Cle Elum-Roslyn vs. (5) Northwest Christian-Colbert, 10 a.m.
(13) Colfax vs. (4) Napavine, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.

Castle Rock Regional (Castle Rock HS)

(16) Ilwaco vs. (1) Toutle Lake, 10 a.m.
(9) Forks vs. (8) Liberty Bell, 1 p.m.
Quarterfinal, 4 p.m.


Tuesday’s play-in round

(11) Orcas vs. (6) Wilbur-Creston-Keller, TBA
(10) Mossyrock vs. (7) Mount Vernon Christian, TBA
(12) Sunnyside Christian vs. (5) Liberty Christian, TBA
(9) Riverside Christian vs. (8) Odessa, TBA

Regional round, Saturday

Moses Lake Regional (Larson Playfield)

Orcas or Wilbur-Creston-Keller vs. (3) Naselle, 1 p.m.
Mossyrock or Mount Vernon Christian vs. (2) Almira-Coulee-Hartline, 10 a.m.
Semifinal, 4 p.m.

Walla Walla Regional

Sunnyside Christian or Liberty Christian vs. Crosspoint, 1 p.m.
Riverside Christian or Odessa vs. DeSales, 10 a.m.
Semifinal, 4 p.m.

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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.



128128grilled-pizza-with-hot-sausage-grilled-peppers-and-onions-and-oregano-ricotta https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/grilled-pizza-with-hot-sausage-grilled-peppers-and-onions-and-oregano-ricotta/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/05/IMG_6079-767x1024-345x460.jpg

Get grilling and celebrate National Pizza Party Day this Friday with a do-it-yourself, delicious pizza you can make at home. This Grilled Pizza with Hot Sausage, Grilled Peppers and Onions, and Oregano Ricotta is incredibly easy to make and once you try grilling your pizza toppings, you’ll be reluctant to do it any other way. Short on ingredients, but big on flavor, it has all the cheese pulling, delectable toppings you would expect from a pizza parlor pie, but at a fraction of the price.

I have wonderful memories of making home made pizza with my grandparents. Even though they lived less than a minute from the town’s best pizza spot, they staunchly refused to buy pizza there, proudly certain they could make an even better pizza in their own kitchen. My grandmother would start making the dough first thing in the morning, pulling a chair up to the counter so I could help add the ingredients to her stand mixer. She’d transfer the smooth ball of dough to a covered bowl, then later in the afternoon we’d make pizza. She would vary the toppings, but it always included home made tomato sauce, fresh herbs and freshly grated cheese. Simple, but heavenly!

Start the weekend off on a fun note with a pizza party on Friday night. If you have never grilled pizza and feel unsure about the process, there’s a great video of this recipe on the Food Network website. Begin by tossing some flour over your work surface so your dough doesn’t stick, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough, starting from the inside and rolling out. Once you have a nice big circle, oil your dough and season with salt and pepper. Place on grill, oiled side down, then brush the top of the dough with oil so that it will be oiled and ready when you flip it. 

Grilling adds amazing flavor and helps create a crispy, chewy crust. Cooking over flames puts a nice sear on the sausages and the fire’s char enhances the peppers and onions. Fontina cheese stands in for the usual mozzarella. Mild, buttery and slightly nutty, it adds earthy flavor. Drizzle the basil vinaigrette over the top and offer the rest alongside. Cover and refrigerate any leftover vinaigrette to dress salads or drizzle over sandwiches. Finish with ricotta cheese seasoned with fresh oregano spooned generously over the top. Pizza perfection! 

I found everything for this recipe at Trader Joe’s, including refrigerated pizza dough that I had never tried before. It was amazingly easy to handle and made beautiful, perfect pizza crust. I bought two crusts and 1 pound of Italian sausage and was able to make 2 pizzas and a smaller gluten-free one following the recipe below. If you are gluten-free, they also have pre-made cauliflower crust pizza in the refrigerated section. 

Get your family together, or gather a few friends, and head for the great outdoors. Make your own pizza at home and get in on the fun this Friday.

Grilled Pizza with Hot Sausage, Grilled Peppers and Onions, and Oregano Ricotta

Basil Vinaigrette

Make Basil Vinaigrette: Combine basil, white wine vinegar, honey, salt, freshly ground black pepper and olive oil; set aside. 

Preheat grill. Brush onions and peppers with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place sausage, peppers and onions on grill. Cook sausage until golden brown and cooked through, grilling about 10 minutes each side. Grill peppers and onions until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from grill when done. Slice sausage into 1/4-inch thick slices. Separate onions into rings and roughly chop. Remove peppers and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices.

Heat grill to high. Brush dough with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Turn over and grill for 1 or 2 minutes, Remove from grill and place on a flat work surface. 

Sprinkle fontina cheese evenly over top of pizza. Scatter the sausage, onions and peppers over the cheese. Place pizza on grill, close cover and grill until cheese melts, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer pizza to oven and place directly on rack set closest to broiler. Broil on high until top is browned, about 5 minutes. 

Combine ricotta, extra-virgin olive oil and oregano in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix together. Remove pizza from oven and drizzle with Basil Vinaigrette. Top with dollops of ricotta cheese mixture then let rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve. 

-recipe by Bobby Flay, foodnetwork.com


Grilled Pizza with Hot Sausage, Grilled Peppers and Onions, and Oregano Ricotta

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On Wednesday, the Clark County Council approved a long-awaited voting district map. But before the day was over, their decision to adopt the map titled C2 was already headed to court.

Former county redistricting committee member Janet Landesberg, who is also a Democratic precinct committee officer, filed suit in Superior Court to block the council’s 3-1 decision.

In her suit, Landesberg says the county violated state law several times during the redistricting process. Landesberg said the first violation occurred  when the council failed to adopt a map by Dec. 31, 2021. She said the council also violated state law during its March 30 meeting when Councilor Gary Medvigy asked Councilor Julie Olson “whether she wanted to run for re-election in Council District 2 or Council District 5.”

The suit cites Medvigy’s direction to Geographic Information Services staffer (and former redistricting master) Paul Newman to “start by drawing a map placing the four elected councilors in the districts which they currently represent. Such a map favored Councilor Karen Bowerman by moving her out of the same district as her Republican colleague Councilor Gary Medvigy. This action shows bias in favor of a particular party (Republican).”

She also said the council violated state law when it approved map C2, which left a majority of the councilors in their existing districts. Landesberg wrote this decision favored the Republican party, a violation of state law which requires no favor or disfavor of a political party.

In her suit, Landesberg notes that over 70 percent of Clark County voters approved the five-district map included in the voters’ guide for the November general election. The redistricting committee was tasked with apportioning the new census data as equally as possible among the five districts. But when the redistricting committee could not get the four votes needed to pass any map, the decision was left to the county council.

“Notwithstanding multiple meetings and votes, the two Republican members of the committee refused to approve any plan that did not move County Council Karen Bowerman back into the Council District 3,” Landesberg wrote.

The case has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

The council’s vote to approve Map C2 also means some extra work for the Elections Office. Auditor Greg Kimsey said the changes resulting from the adoption of C2 were incorporated into the election management/voter registration system by Wednesday night.

For the 55,942 registered voters affected by the map changes, Kimsey said voter registration cards will be mailed to them starting early the week of May 16.

— Shari Phiel

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When you are juggling work, kids, friends, family, social responsibilities, personal tasks and more, it’s easy to understand why a lack of time is the number one reason people don’t exercise. We are busier as a society than we ever have been and there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in a day to get everything done. With that said, one thing we’ve learned over the last couple years is that your health is something you shouldn’t neglect.

Here are 10 quick and easy tips to help maximize your time while exercising….

…..so you can workout less, get better results, and look and feel your best.

Workout Less and Get Better Results!


If you want to maximize your workouts, put away the books, magazines, cell phones, TV, and other distractions while working out so you can focus on what you’re doing and get your workouts done more quickly.

Crush It

When you don’t have a ton of time, replace long duration and easy intensity cardio with short and hard interval training. You can accomplish the same workload in a shorter time.

Integrate Your Training

When you’re strapped for time, start combining muscle conditioning movements. For example, instead of doing one set of squats and then one set of overhead shoulder presses, do a squat with an overhead shoulder press. Or instead of a separate set of lunges and bicep curls, do them at the same time. You’ll save a ton of time.

Keep Moving

Sequence your exercises in a manner that allows you to eliminate any rest periods. So, for example, instead of doing 3 sets of bench press with a minute rest in between, try doing your core training in between your Bench Press sets. Or perform lower body and upper body exercises back-to-back with no rest in between.

Lift a Little Heavier

Instead of doing high-repetition muscle conditioning, which takes longer, increase your weight load and keep your repetitions between 8-12 reps.

Have a Plan

One of the biggest timewasters is not knowing exactly what you’re doing so you find yourself just wandering through the gym using whatever equipment is available. If you want to be efficient and effective, know exactly what you’re doing and stay focused. That’s why personal training is so popular – you don’t have to worry about anything. Just show up and the workouts are ready to go. Even if you just see a trainer once every 1-2 months to design a program that you do on your own, that can be a huge timesaver.  

Less Talking, More Working

It’s good to have friends to workout with because it helps with adherence. But if you notice half of your time is spent chit-chatting, you’ll get a lot more done in a shorter period if you keep the conversations short.

Rise and Grind

Busy people have a much better time adhering to a workout program if they do it first thing in the morning – before other responsibilities district and get in the way!                                                             

Active Quality Time

Schedule workouts and active adventures with friends and family so you can get in your workout while spending quality time with your loved ones – it’s positive multi-tasking!

Exercise When You’re Not Exercising

Focus on increasing your overall activity more throughout the day. If we all just took the stairs more than the elevator, parked further from our destination and walked to do errands, we wouldn’t have to spend hours in the gym!


When you’re too busy to get to the gym, make sure you are setup for home workouts and have access to effective online training or virtual classes. You’ll save time from not having to drive or find parking!

Being too busy is never an excuse to skip out on your health and fitness. In fact, exercise will actually give you more energy so you can be more productive. Instead of exercise taking up too much time, it will give you more time and energy. So, no matter how busy you are, workout smarter and carve the time out so you can reach for your personal best. 

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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Drizzly days demand comfort food, all the better if it’s quick to prepare. Freeform Chicken Meatballs with Carrots and Yogurt Sauce have the laid back vibe you need for a quick weeknight meal. The sheet pan prep makes this extra speedy, garam masala gives it exotic flavor. The carrots get a head start, roasting on their own while you prep the meatball mixture. Once the meatballs go in, you quickly make the yogurt sauce and before you know it you’re plating and eating. 

This recipe is adaptable and very forgiving. It’s ready to let you do as you like, and isn’t that what cooking at home is all about? Don’t care for yogurt? Mound everything over a puddle of hummus instead. Or make a tahini sauce, or use store bought tzatziki. Toss some chickpeas with olive oil and Garam Masala and roast those as well. Add another roasted veg to the mix. Do it your way. Go ahead and make meatballs if you like, but I find the freeform style very liberating and dare I say, fun, and who can’t use a little timesaving on a weeknight?  

Garam Masala is the Indian equivalent of French herbes de Provence or Chinese five-spice powder. Widely used in Indian curries, lentil dishes and soups, the individual spice list for this blend varies from region to region. Save money by making your own. Use ground spices you already have on hand while they’re still fragrant, so they don’t go to waste. Store your spice mix in a small jar. Be sure to label with a date and put it someplace handy so that you can remember to use it when you need quick seasoning for grilling over the summer.  

I bought petite multicolor carrots that were peeled and trimmed to speed up the prep time. Halved lengthwise, they were ready to pop onto the baking sheet. Use a mix of white and dark meat ground chicken or turkey for the most flavorful results, or substitute a lean mix of ground beef. The recipe calls for 3 teaspoons of grated lemon zest, but to save time, I skipped measuring and just grated the peel from one lemon, which gave the meatballs bright, zesty flavor. Use a parchment lined baking sheet for the carrots, but don’t line the baking sheet for the meatballs in order to help them brown. When you make your meatballs, crack your egg directly into the bowl. Use a fork to lightly beat your egg, then add the rest of the meatball ingredients so that you can mix all the seasonings uniformly. I skipped adding the 2 tablespoons of olive oil to my meatballs and opted to just mist them before baking instead.

I made two batches of these and both turned out delicious, but the sheet pan ones didn’t brown as much as I’d like. I tried putting them under the broiler, but they still remained peaked. I ended up making a batch in a cast iron frying pan, which browned them nicely. Verdict: sheet pan wins for ease, and the clean up wasn’t a big deal. But it it’s browning you’re after, go with the frying pan. 

As always, make more. Roast extra carrots, make extra meatballs. They reheat nicely and are perfect for lunches or another dinner, leaving you free to enjoy the sun when it’s out. 

Freeform Chicken Meatballs with Carrots and Yogurt Sauce

Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven, then preheat to 425º F. Toss carrots, red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast on lower rack of oven about 20-25 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until carrots are nicely browned and fork-tender. 

While carrots cook, combine egg, scallions, lemon zest, garam masala, 2 tablespoons oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt in a large bowl and stir together. Add ground chicken, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and mix until just combined. 

Coat another rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil. Scatter chicken mixture in small 2” rounds on baking sheet. Roast on upper rack until browned, crispy-edged and cooked through (165º F internal temp), about 15-20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Spoon sauce over a platter or divide among plates, swooshing with the back of a spoon. Arrange carrots and meatballs over yogurt sauce, then top with arugula. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice and season with flaky sea salt. 

– Anna Stockwell, epicurious.com

Garam Masala

Mix spices together in a small bowl. 

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With the Clark County Council’s deliberations over a new voting district map laboring on, tensions between council members have continued to flare. Wednesday’s public hearing to consider the 04-19-2022 proposed map was no different.

After months of wrangling over the map, many expected the council to adopt the 04-19-2022 map at the conclusion of Wednesday’s hearing. Despite comments from several local residents during public testimony to approve the 04-19-2022 map and finally resolve the ongoing dispute, Councilor Richard Rylander Jr. suggested the council consider an amended version of Map C2 created, and rejected, by the county redistricting committee last fall.

Rylander was appointed as the District 5 councilor by Gov. Jay Inslee on April 29. Rylander was among three candidates provided to the governor to choose from, and was the candidate to receive votes from Chair Karen Bowerman and Councilor Gary Medvigy following council interviews in March.

One central issue to which map is adopted is what happens with Chair Karen Bowerman’s seat. Some of the maps considered previously would move Bowerman into District 4, meaning she would have to face off against Medvigy if both choose to run for reelection. Councilor Julie Olson’s would also likely be moved into District 5, but Olson has already announced she won’t be seeking reelection in November.

Councilor Temple Lentz, who has also announced she won’t be seeking reelection, reminded her fellow councilors they voted during an April 13 meeting to recuse themselves from drawing the district boundaries and instead let staff create a map that complied with state law and honored the will of voters who approved a five-district configuration included in a November 2021 charter amendment.

Lentz said the council has now gone back on that vote without considering the map created by staff.

“It would definitely be inappropriate for us to go backward, and certainly to have councilors once again put their own personal preferences in front of the good to the community,” Lentz said.

Medvigy has said several times he did not vote to recuse himself from the process.

“Once again there is a mischaracterization of councilors going back on their vote. No one did. Perhaps Councilor Lentz has a different understanding what recusal is. I certainly have a different understanding, Medvigy said.

When Lentz, who was joining the call remotely, appeared to be laughing at Medvigy’s comment, he said, “I see you giggling like a teenage girl. If you had recused yourself you wouldn’t have just spoken. That’s what a recusal is.”

Medvigy also said a recusal is when you take yourself out of some process become of some prejudice you have or the appearance of it.

“It does seem like you do,” Medvigy said to Lentz.

When Bowerman did not respond or stop Medvigy’s criticisms of a specific councilor, which is against council policy, Lentz objected.

“I would hope in the future when a councilor makes diminishing remarks about another councilor that would be stopped,” Lentz said.

Bowerman said she would take Lentz comments to heart “to stop disparaging remarks” but also said laughing at another councilor in what appears to be “a mocking way” would also would be stopped.

Lentz responded, saying she was laughing out of shock, not in an attempt to mock Medvigy. Lentz apologized for her actions and said “it was inappropriate.”

There was no further comment from Medvigy on the matter.

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If we’ve learned one thing over the last couple years, it’s the importance of our health. If it’s important to you, you should learn everything you can about how to achieve optimal health. The beauty of learning is it can happen in a variety of different ways through books, articles, podcasts, video clips, workshops, webinars, or mentors.

If you want to improve your nutrition, start reading nutrition-based articles, purchasing books on the topic, taking a healthy cooking workshop or hiring a nutrition consultant or registered dietician to help guide you through the process.

If you want to start exercising, read about proper conditioning and programming, take a practical workshop, or hire a personal coach or trainer who can hold you accountable and teach you safe and effective techniques.

Become a student learning everything you can about your body and how to assure it’s functioning at its best.

Education is powerful and when you incorporate action, results are inevitable.  

It’s one of the reasons we host free monthly workshops at Northwest Personal Training for our community.

It’s easier to adhere to goals if you understand the rationale and the science behind it. 

On Monday May 23rd at 6:45pm we will be hosting our next workshop, Women, Aging & Health”.

Know Better So You Can Do Better!The aging woman has many changes to navigate, both physically and mentally. While there are differences in how our bodies respond to perimenopause and menopause, we all have questions about what is normal and how to lessen symptoms as much as possible.

Join Dr. Cynthia McNally to learn more about:

Hormonal changes as we age.

How nutrition and physical activity can help.

Evidence-based strategies to help you combat sleeplessness, hot flashes, mood swings, low libido unwanted weight gain, and more.

Different types of Hormone Replacement Therapy and how to determine which option works best for you.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

128073u-s-senators-comment-on-leaked-draft-opinion-on-abortion-case https://blogs.columbian.com/all-politics-is-local/u-s-senators-comment-on-leaked-draft-opinion-on-abortion-case/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/05/cantwell-murray-1024x658-1-600x386.jpeg Senate Democrats gathered Tuesday at the Capitol to call for unity in upholding protections for reproductive rights.   [caption id="attachment_128073" align="alignright" width="300"] Democratic U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell, left, and Patty Murray of Washington[/caption] The political leaders, including Washington’s Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell, made their remarks in response to the leaked draft majority opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which would roll back on abortion care precedent established by Roe v. Wade. Many of them noted that its ruling would render women from this generation with “fewer rights than their mothers.” The representatives urged Americans to continue fighting for reproductive rights. “We will not be still. We will not be silent. We will not back down,” Murray said. “And to those who haven’t felt the weight of this moment yet, who don’t think this could happen, who don’t think it matter to them – it’s time to wake up.” “We are going to fight in the United States Senate to make sure that every American understands that 50 years of settled law, 50 years of Republican nominees coming before the committee and saying that they believe this is settled law, to now foist on the American public an invasion of their rights to privacy and pretend that those rights of privacy do not exist in the Constitution,” Cantwell said. They echoed the potential dangers associated with invalidating the Roe v. Wade decision, including making abortions unsafe and disproportionately affecting those who have a low-income. Both Murray and Cantwell joined 46 Democrats in the Senate and 188 in the U.S. House to file a bicameral amicus brief in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, reasoning with the Supreme Court for the protection of a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. Murray, who is seeking a sixth term this fall, has a likely Republican challenger who holds anti-abortion beliefs: Tiffany Smiley. According to the candidate’s campaign, she will not comment on a draft opinion that has not been finalized. Once the Supreme Court provides its final majority decision, Smiley will comment on the matter. In the meantime: “The leaked draft opinion is clearly an attempt to further politicize and influence the Supreme Court,” said Elisa Carlson, Smiley’s press secretary. Although the draft hasn’t been finalized, its contents shed light on a likely reality for reproductive care. The Supreme Court has sessions scheduled over the next two months to provide rulings in unresolved cases, including  Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. 128058food-issues-and-felines https://blogs.columbian.com/cat-tales/2022/05/01/food-issues-and-felines/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/05/cat-feeding-toy-2-460x460.jpg

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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Here’s to you mom. The hundreds of home cooked meals, mountains of laundry, endless hours spent listening, and your innate ability to make everything all better. Your sage wisdom and finesse as a problem solver extraordinaire have not gone unnoticed. There is no one like you. 

Give mom the royal treatment and make plans for the special day she deserves. Celebrate with the Queen of English cakes: the Victoria Sponge. The Victoria sponge, also known as the Victoria sandwich cake, was named after Queen Victoria, who loved to enjoy the cake with her afternoon tea. Her version would have been filled only with jam, but modern takes include cream, like whipped or buttercream, as well. The top of the cake is not iced or decorated, but it does get a light dusting of sugar for the finishing touch. The recipe, made with equal proportions of flour, fat, sugar and eggs, evolved from the classic pound cake. It was the invention of baking powder in 1843 by English food manufacturer Alfred Bird that allowed the cake to rise more than was previously possible.

My mom loved a celebration, particularly, a sense of occasion. She knew each day was precious, and she had no fear, or intention, of missing out. Given the choice, she would certainly eat dessert. This one would definitely get her seal of approval. It’s easy to make and fancy, too, and with the exception of the whipped cream, you can make this with what you already have on hand. Because the recipe is in metric measurements, I converted it to the English system to speed things along for you.

Proper ingredients are a must here, as well as bringing the eggs and butter to room temperature. Caster sugar, also known as baker’s, or superfine sugar, is finer-grained than regular granulated white sugar. Widely available in the United Kingdom, you can make a DIY caster sugar by pulsing granulated sugar in your blender until it reaches a finely ground – but not powdery – consistency, about 2 to 3 pulses. Don’t balk at the large amount of baking powder. It is necessary in this case because this recipe calls for all-purpose flour, as opposed to the self-rising variety. Because the recipe is in metric measurements, I converted it to the English system to speed things along for you.

There are two methods for making Victoria Sponge. The traditional method involves creaming caster sugar with butter, mixing thoroughly with beaten egg, and then folding flour and baking powder into the mixture. The modern method involves simply whisking all the ingredients together until creamy. This can either be done by hand or with an electric mixer or food processor. My suggestion: go the traditional route. This cake is all about pomp and circumstance, so go the extra mile. If you’re truly in a hurry, follow the modern method. It will still yield a delicious cake, no one the wiser with the exception of purists.

If you only have one 8 inch cake tin, you can bake the sponge and slice it in half. There were several recipes that called for 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, which I think could be a nice addition to the cake. If you want to test for doneness, the internal temperature should be 200º-209º F. Be sure to use a good quality jam here. Strawberry or raspberry are traditional in the English cake, but you could certainly give this a little Northwest flavor and use another berry jam, along with some of our beautiful berries as we move into season. 

Brew a piping hot pot of proper tea and sit down with mom for a chat. Slice up and wedge for each of you and enjoy a leisurely afternoon. Wishing you a very happy Mother’s Day.

Victoria Sponge

for the filling

Preheat oven to 180º C (356º F). Grease the sides and bottoms of two 8 inch sandwich tins (round cake pans), then line the bottoms with a circle of baking paper. 

Sift flour and baking powder into a small bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs a little at a time, adding a spoonful of flour if the mixture threatens to separate. Sift in the flour in 3 separate additions, folding it in with a large metal spoon. 

Divide mixture between prepared tins. Bake 25-30 minutes, until cakes are golden brown, well risen, and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Spread strawberry jam over one cake and place on a plate. Whip cream until soft peaks form, then pipe or spread it over the jam. Place the other cake on top and dust with icing sugar. Top or serve with fresh berries. 


Modern method:

Break eggs into a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar, flour, baking powder and butter. Mix together until well combined using a hand mixer or wooden spoon, being careful not to over mix. 

– Mary Berry, bbc.co.uk

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If your physician instructed you to lose weight to improve your health, it would be wise to achieve that goal without feeling like you’re starving all the time. It’s hard to stick to a nutrition plan if you’re miserable! A key step to reducing caloric intake and portions is to assure you are eating foods that fill you up and give you a sense of satiety. An important principle is to consume foods that are high in nutrient value, low in caloric content and effective in their ability to cause you to feel satisfied.

Here’s the Top Foods to Include in Your Nutrition Plan

The 5 Best Foods to Eat to Fill You Up!


They are full of nutrients, water content and most importantly, fiber, which provides that critical sense of satiety. It’s almost impossible to consume too many vegetables so make them the largest portion of your dietary consumption.


Eating protein-rich foods has been shown to increase our feelings of fullness. Try having some form of protein with each meal or snack whether it is almond butter, eggs, nuts, yogurt, and/or meat. 


Having a broth-based soup before dinner has shown to increase fullness and decrease the overall caloric intake of the meal.


A handful of unsalted nuts can curb cravings. Be careful not to overdue though as nuts contain a lot of calories so keep it to a small portion. 


Fruits are also full of nutrients, water content and fiber which will help to keep you full. Try to combine fruits with a protein to slow down absorption and keep you full longer such as fruit and yogurt, banana and almond butter, berries and chia pudding, cottage cheese and fruit etc. 

Other Helpful Tips


Drink adequate water throughout the day to help combat hunger. Strive to sip 100 ounces of water per day.

Balanced Nutrition

All macronutrients, carbohydrates, protein and fat, are important to overall health. Try to include each macronutrient at all meals. A balanced diet is key to satiety and health. 

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

127379kent-campaign-strife https://blogs.columbian.com/all-politics-is-local/kent-campaign-strife/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Joe-Kent-510x460.jpg Recently released screenshots of a text exchange between a 3rd Congressional District candidate’s campaign staffers shed light on conflict simmering behind the scenes. Red Voice Media, a right-wing blog, published messages on April 21 between former Kent campaign manager Byron Sanford and Ozzie Gonzalez, who currently holds the position. Following this release, The Dispatch published its own report on the internal conflict involving the staff members and Matt Braynard, a former Trump campaign aide and current consultant for Kent’s campaign. It unexpectedly became a rabbit hole. Before getting absorbed into the campaign drama, The Columbian contacted Sanford to verify the messages were from Gonzalez, fact-check some of the behind-the-scenes tales and ask follow-up questions. Although the former campaign manager was responsive, Gonzalez and Kent told The Columbian that they had nothing else to say than what was already published in The Dispatch’s article. At its root, the debacle reflected dissatisfaction with how the campaign was progressing. Specifically, with Braynard’s role in it. Sanford said its image “suffered” since the consultant joined Kent’s team; he added that Braynard made poor decisions within his position and had a problematic association with fascists – including attending the America First Political Action Conference in 2021, an event organized by white nationalist Nick Fuentes. When Sanford recommended Kent in early-December to lay off Braynard or reduce his campaign duties, Sanford was fired shortly after. So why were the texts publicized months after they were sent? Sanford told The Columbian that he has been providing messages like these to publications, including Red Voice Media, since he was fired. The former campaign manager has also been speaking to outlets about the campaign off-the-record since December, he said. So, what was the exchange that sparked the opening of this can of worms? Texts from November 23:
GONZALEZ: If we implement an insane ballot harvesting operation in Joe’s district Jim [Walsh] should replicate it when he runs for governor. I’m 1000% down to register homeless people for cigarettes. I’ve been looking for nonprofits or existing orgs that will let us piggyback off their infrastructure but we’re just going to have to do it on our own. Should not be hard. Show up at a camp with 30 dominoes pizzas. Same with every ethnic minority. The stupider the better. Central Americans are perfect.
Later that day:
GONZALEZ: I’m also down to take all the trash bags of ballots back to my place to make sure they voted the correct way by shining a flashlight through the envelope.
SANFORD: Keep me updated on the signs
GONZALEZ: Will do. When I register homeless people I’m just going to pre print the street they live on & make them and email address I have access to. Then I can print their ballots off at home and bring them back to them so they can fill them out.
Gonzalez told The Dispatch that the texts were “fake” and Sanford likely sent them to himself from Gonzalez’s phone. “That is just nonsensical,” Sanford told The Columbian. Sanford added that the plan outlined in the exchange was unlikely to happen, and Kent probably wasn’t aware of it because “he was pretty oblivious to what was happening in his campaign.” However, the content of this alleged exchange is abhorrent and sheds light on the hypocrisy from a campaign that is transfixed on election integrity – one that called for an audit of the 2020 general election. Now, Sanford is a general consultant for different campaigns. Will he still vote for Kent? “Absolutely not.” 128034broccoli-spoon-salad-with-warm-vinaigrette https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/broccoli-spoon-salad-with-warm-vinaigrette/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/04/IMG_5962-e1650692894535-1024x998-472x460.jpg

While Mother Nature continues to paint things a lush, verdant green, color you dinner plate similarly. Here are two new ways to make broccoli your new favorite vegetable. 

A delicious mixture of flavors and textures, this Broccoli Spoon Salad with Warm Vinaigrette will elevate whatever else you happen to be making to the memorable level. Chop the broccoli small. For milder garlic flavor, use a peeled and smashed garlic clove to infuse your oil rather than using grated garlic. Buy your pistachios roasted and you can skip the roasting step. Add the dressing at your discretion. Should you have any remaining, it would be delicious to dress asparagus with as well. 

Ras el hanout is rich and very aromatic. It’s an amazing spice blend and if you don’t happen to have any, it’s incredibly easy to make out of what you already have any hand. You can use it as a seasoning for meats, veggies, couscous, pasta, rice, and stews. Swap around. Curry powder instead of ras el hanout, any nut or seed for the pistachios, green onion for the shallots, raisins or other dried fruit for the dates, basil for the cilantro. Add a grain of your choosing like quinoa, or try a chewy one, like farro or barley, to make this even more filling and delicious.

Next up, Roasted Broccoli and Tofu with Creamy Miso Dressing. Filled with interesting flavors and textures, this recipe is one you will want to put on repeat. Deliciously dressed in a creamy miso sauce, it’s so flavorful and indulgent you’d never know that it’s packed full of healthy ingredients. Time crunched? Quarter and roast half of the brussels sprouts and use your food processor to help you shred the rest. Mist your vegetables with olive oil spray before roasting to reduce some of the oil. Keep the olives to the side and taste before adding them, just in case you like the flavor as is and don’t want to mess with it. Don’t have hemp seeds? Swap in tahini. Save any leftover sauce to dress other roasted vegetables or use it to dip raw veggies in during the week. 

Eat more vegetables. But eat them deliciously. 

Broccoli Spoon Salad with Warm Vinaigrette

Combine oil, ras el hanout, and garlic in a small saucepan. Warm over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice, vinegar and honey. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper; set aside.

Toast pistachios in a small skillet set over medium-high heat until golden brown; about 4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board. Let cool, then finely chop.

Toss pistachios, shallot, jalapeño, broccoli, cilantro and dates in a medium bowl. Drizzle dressing over all and toss to coat. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Do ahead: Salad can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

– bonappetit.com

Ras El Hanout

Mix together and store airtight for up to 1 month.

– allrecipes.com

Roasted Broccoli and Tofu with Creamy Miso Dressing

Preheat oven to 425º F. Cut stems from brussels sprouts and discard. Remove outer leaves and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Finely slice brussels sprouts and transfer to a medium bowl. Grind coriander seeds in a spice mill or use a mortar and pestle.

Add broccoli and tofu to baking sheet with the sprout leaves. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, add crushed coriander and pepper, season with salt, and toss to combine. Roast, tossing once halfway through, until broccoli is browned, lightly charred in a few spots, and tender, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool.

Add olives, 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to sliced brussels sprouts and toss to combine.

Purée hemp seeds, miso, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, remaining lemon juice and oil and 1/4 cup water in a blender until smooth. Season with salt.

Spread some of the dressing on bowls or plates. Toss roasted vegetables with sliced brussels sprouts and arrange over dressing. Top with sesame seeds, almonds and parsley. 

– bonappetit.com

128027council-approves-rules-of-procedure-without-changes-to-absences https://blogs.columbian.com/all-politics-is-local/council-approves-rules-of-procedure-without-changes-to-absences/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Bowerman-1024x819-575x460.jpg

A revised Rules of Procedure was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Clark County Council following a public hearing but without the additional language on council absences sought by Chair Karen Bowerman.

“The way for (an absence) to be considered to be excused involves nothing more than giving advance notice by a designated amount. I don’t think this is the time to make that change because, as it was pointed out at the last meeting, there’s several factors involved with that,” Bowerman said following the hearing.

The 13-page rules of procedure document, which is required by the county charter, creates a framework for the time, place and conduct of council regular meetings and hearings, and the introduction, publication, consideration and adoption of ordinances.

It includes provisions for how and when public meetings are held, when a councilor can add or remove an item from a meeting agenda, holding work session and executive session meetings, appointments to boards and committees, budget reviews and a code of ethics.

The approved rules of procedure are separate from the ethics code and ethics review commission previously approved by the council and required by charter amendment.

During an April 13 meeting, Bowerman said she wanted to add additional language around councilor absences because, “to be unexcused, according to this guideline, is pretty tough. I could see a situation where we have some councilors that could be absent for a really extended period and no action could be taken. I’ve got a problem with that.”

Currently, council members only need to provide notice of an absence 10 days in advance to be considered excused, except in the case of an unforeseen emergency. Emergency absences can be considered excused by the county manager and council chair.

One example of an emergency absence would be Councilor Julie Olson’s absence from the council’s April 19 and April 20 meetings due to the death of a close family member.

The ethics code does state if a councilor has six or more unexcused absences from meetings within a 12-month period, the council can allege a violation of the ethics code.

Lindsey Hueer, policy analyst for the county, said in looking at rules of procedure for other counties she found council absences are usually left to state law.

“The prevailing idea is that’s the purpose of elections, if someone isn’t doing their job,” Hueer said.

She also noted there could be legal complications in reviewing confidential information related to an absence.

“For example, medical issues may be covered by legal protections. Somebody may have a death in the family, and they may not want to disclose that death in the family. That’s not protected, legally, information. Most rules of procedure don’t get into that,” Hueer added.

Under the code, penalties can include written order to cease and desist the violation, public admonishment, public resolution of censure and removal from all committees.

Bowerman said those penalties are “too slim” but didn’t indicate what further language should be added.  She said she plans to continue working on revisions that can be considered at a future date.

The full document can be found at https://bit.ly/3vDOW0g.

— Shari Phiel

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“If you don’t use it, you lose it.” When we were young, we ran, skipped, climbed, jumped and sprinted, but as we get older, we tend not to move as quickly. As a result, as we age, we lose about 7 pounds of muscle each decade and this loss is predominantly noted in the number and size of fast twitch muscle fibers.

These muscle fibers are the ones responsible for allowing an individual to move quickly, and to maintain agility, reaction time, strength and power. As these fibers atrophy, we find ourselves moving much slower than our younger years and our quality of movement deteriorates.

However, the good news is that this loss can be slowed down and, in some cases, prevented by training your fast twitch muscles. So, it’s important to do whatever you can to keep these muscle fibers working so they don’t perceive that they are no longer needed. 

Participating in sports such as tennis, squash, racquetball, pickleball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, and ultimate frisbee will help to slow down the loss in fast twitch muscle fibers. You could also consider enrolling in dance programs like Salsa or Ballroom dancing or choreography-based fitness classes like Zumba and Hip Hop. These types of activities will keep you agile and mobile into your later years – plus it’s a fun way to achieve these benefits.  

Here are some other movement drills to help you maintain your agility and mobility as you age.

Try to perform at least one agility drill 2-3x each week.

Quick Feet

This one doesn’t require any equipment. Just start moving your feet quickly out and in and/or forward and backward. Continue 30-60 seconds leading with one leg and repeat on the other side.

Jump Rope

Skipping is a wonderful way to maintain fast twitch muscles. Pick up a skipping rope at your local sporting goods or department store. You can even skip without a rope and just go through the motions. 

Plank Sprint

Place a cone/marker and start in a prone/plank position 20 feet behind it. Quickly stand up and sprint forward to the cone. Walk back and do it again 3-5x.

Move Fast So You Can Stay Fit

Side to Side Drill

Position 2 cones, chairs or props a few feet apart. Now quickly step laterally to the outside of one cone and back to the outside of the other touching down towards the floor or cone on each end. Try to go as fast as you possibly can. Continue for 30-60 seconds. Recover and complete 3-5x.

Move Fast So You Can Stay Fit

4 Corner Drill

Position 4 cones or props in a square formation and stand in the middle of the cones. Run forward/backwards to one cone and then back to the middle. Then run to the next cone and back to the middle and so on. Continue for 30-60 seconds. Recover and complete 3-5x.

Line Drills

Place 3 cones or props in a straight line each about 20 feet apart. Start the exercise by sprinting or walking fast to the first cone, then shuffle backwards to the starting point. Then sprint to the second cone, then shuffle backwards to the starting point. Then sprint all the way to the third cone, then shuffle backwards to the starting point. Take a short break and then repeat this 3-5x.

Move Fast So You Can Stay Fit

“Square Drill”

Place 4 cones in the shape of a square or rectangle with each cone about 20 feet apart from each other. Start at one corner and sprint to the top of the square. Then shuffle across the top of the square. Then back-shuffle. Then laterally shuffle back to the start. Do this 3-5x one way. Take a break and go the other way. You can also do this drill on a tennis court and use the corners as your markers. 

Move Fast So You Can Stay Fit

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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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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Look no further than your pantry for dinner. Put those staples to good use with these two recipes that are made mostly from canned goods. Packed with hearty ingredients, Pantry Salad is a filling lunch or dinner. Satisfying enough to serve as an entree, but equally good as a side, tuck it into the fridge and you’ll have something good to eat for several days. Make it ahead. It’s perfect for lunch, picnics, potlucks or travel. Use low sodium or no salt added beans and taste before adding any additional salt. Celery adds requisite crunch, but you could also add other diced veggies like bell pepper, cucumber, zucchini, fennel, carrot or jicama to add a bit of texture to the mix. I did not have any on pine nuts on hand, but you could top this with any kind of toasted nut or seed that you like. It’s so good, you’ll make it again and again.

April is National Grilled Cheese month. The toasted bread and melted cheese combo is always a winner and it’s a natural accompaniment for a warming bowl of soup. This 11-Can Soup is an easy way to get dinner on the table quickly. Don’t worry about what you don’t have and be creative with what you do. Feel free to toss in a fresh item or two, or use frozen vegetables from your freezer. Leave out anything that doesn’t appeal to you. Most of all, use what you have. You can make a quick dinner without having to go any further than your pantry. I used frozen red peppers, skipped the tomato sauce and used chicken and vegetable broth instead. I used two cans of Great Northern beans and used frozen green beans, the smaller haricot vert variety, instead of the Italian ones in the recipe. I didn’t have canned minestrone, and because my diced tomatoes were unseasoned, I added extra Italian seasoning. It yielded a flavorful soup, filled with interesting ingredients, especially nice with the warm, crusty cheesy toast slices. Delicious! 

While you’re hunting for dinner ingredients, take a quick inventory of your canned goods, making note of any that are running low. Check expiration dates and for best flavor and quality, make plans to use anything that’s about to expire soon. Canned goods are generally safe to eat past their best if used by date, however dented cans can be a bit more confusing. Any can that is bulging or leaking should always be discarded, but dented ones, in some cases, can be okay. If the dent is over a side or end seam, or has sharp or pointed edges, it is unsafe. I found a great guide with helpful pictures from the Larimer County Public Health Department online. If you have a dented can you are uncertain about, throw it out.

Pantry Salad

Combine beans, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, feta cheese, celery and leaves, tomatoes, oil and lemon zest in a large serving bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over all, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss well, then taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve. 

– foodnetwork.com

11-Can Soup and Cheesy Toast

Cheesy Toast:

Add the canned and jarred items, undrained, to a large pot. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring to combine. Add the dried parsley and Italian seasoning and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thick, about 1 hour. 

For cheesy toast: Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Lay the ciabatta and sandwich bread slices on baking sheet. For the ciabatta, sprinkle with enough mozzarella to generously cover, then sprinkle each slice with half of the Parmesan and Italian seasoning. Top each ciabatta slice with a slice of provolone. For the sandwich bread, lay 2 slices of American cheese on top of each slice. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and starting to  brown around the edges. Slice the toast in half diagonally. 

Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan and serve with cheesy toast.

– recipe by Ree Drummond

127999county-council-to-tackle-absences https://blogs.columbian.com/all-politics-is-local/county-council-to-tackle-absences/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Bowerman-1024x819-575x460.jpg
The Clark County Council is trying to put some teeth behind its policy on councilor absences. The topic came up during discussions on revising the county’s Rules of Procedure during Wednesday’s council time meeting.
“The only criterion dealing with absences is providing notice on a time basis, not any kind of notice as to the reason for the absence. It is automatically an excused absence if notice is provided 10 calendar days in advance,” Chair Karen Bowerman said during the meeting.
Bowerman said this could allow absent councilors to be considered excused when they shouldn’t be. The policy only states councilors absent unexcused for six or more Tuesday meetings in a 12-month period may be penalized.
“To be unexcused, according to this guideline, is pretty tough. I could see a situation where we have some councilors that could be absent for a really extended period and no action could be taken. I’ve got a problem with that,” Bowerman added.
Bowerman said the policy should acknowledge that wanting to be absent, such as going on vacation, is not the same as needing to be absent.
Councilor absences have been an occasional concern but became a real sticking point in March when the council was slated to interview candidates for the vacant District 5 seat. The council was unable to find a day when all four councilors would be available for the interviews, especially as Councilors Julie Olson and Temple Lentz each had longer excused absences already planned. The council had to wait until the end of the month to hold those interviews.
Councilor Temple Lentz suggested the council clearly define and create a rule on what makes an absence unexcused. However, Bowerman said the council should its common sense to make that decision.
“I think, as we see on a daily basis, individual understandings of what is common sense varies greatly. I would suggest instead, to be sure there is a common understanding, that there is something on paper because leaving it up to individuals’ judgement doesn’t necessarily allow for consistent application,” Lentz said.
The county council will hold a public hearing on the Rules of Procedure during Tuesday’s public hearing. The hearing begins as 6 p.m. and will be held in a hybrid in person and virtual format. For meeting links and agendas, go to https://clark.wa.gov/calendar.
— Shari Phiel
51575mysterious-apple-thrower-seeks-forgiveness https://blogs.columbian.com/all-politics-is-local/mysterious-apple-thrower-seeks-forgiveness/ /wp-content/uploads/2015/08/dearcitizen-225x300.jpg U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is running for her sixth term in Congress, a move that has received the expected deluge of both support and critiques. Surprisingly, though, Vancouver’s mysterious apple thrower will be absent during the election cycle. In a letter sent to The Columbian this week, the produce-flinging culprit announced their intention to end the scheme for good. The written acknowledgement read as follows: “My mother was a Catholic girl who worked as a cocktail waitress. I mention this only because this note is in the form of a confession. Who am I: Post Haste What am I: I throw apples on rooftops of supporters of Patty Murray. I believe that it is wrong to do what I’ve been doing, as I feel badly about it. Also the ruse that I tell myself (is) that I am merely throwing the apples above the houses – it is gravity that causes them to fall; and this has nothing to do with me. I believe this to be a flimsy excuse. It is wrong to bother people who merely disagree with me. I pray forgiveness.” For years, letters from the sender circulated throughout the city during election time, targeting the supporters of certain political candidates, including Murray and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. They were signed “Titania” and, later, “Peaseblossom,” “Cobweb” and “Moth” – characters from "A Midsummer Night’s Dream." In August 2015, notes emerged on people’s doorsteps calling for apple throwers to coalesce; some residents saw it as a property threat, whereas others were just befuddled. A couple of months later, the Vancouver Education Association reported damage to their building. The enigmatic leader persisted. Neighborhoods received letters in 2018 that asked Murray supporters to keep their porchlight on during the evening. Households that followed this request would be “contacted.” The author of these notes was the suspected “bad apple.” Despite the stream of cryptic messages, the individual’s antics remained harmless. Now, it seems like drawn-out escapades are officially ending as the author seeks reconciliation. 127978measuring-results-should-you-weigh-yourself https://blogs.columbian.com/sherri-mcmillan/2022/04/13/measuring-results-should-you-weigh-yourself/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/04/sherri-studio-Dec-2021_crop-600x205.jpg

Imagine this scenario. Your doc tells you that you need to focus on your health and lose some weight. You start exercising and eating healthy every day for an entire week. You step onto the scale excited to see your progress, and your weight has not changed or has actually increased! This can be extremely demoralizing and demotivating.

If you are going to measure your success once you have adopted healthy initiatives, you need appropriate and correct indicators of progress.

Measuring Results – Should You Weigh Yourself?Unfortunately, most people make their biggest mistake in this area. They measure their fat loss success by jumping on the scale. They think that if they have lost weight, they have succeeded; if not, they have failed. But it is not that simple. If you use the scale as your only indicator of success you are setting yourself up for failure! The scale tells you only one thing…your total body weight in pounds or kilograms. It does not tell you anything about how much of that weight is comprised of muscle, bone, fat, or water. 

Have you heard that muscle weighs more than fat? Wrong. One pound of muscle weighs the same as one pound of fat – one pound. But, a pound of muscle is more dense than a pound of fat, so it takes up a lot less space. A 140-pound woman who carries a lot of muscle will look very different from a 140-pound woman who carries very little muscle. She will appear smaller and leaner than her less-muscled counterpart, even though they weigh exactly the same.

Relying on the scale presents other problems:

Body weight can fluctuate by several pounds throughout the course of a day.

You could be retaining water and misinterpret the weight gain as body fat gain

Women experience large weight fluctuations due to hormonal changes during their menstrual cycles.

After you eat, your weight increases.

If you have not had a daily morning bowel movement, your weight could be a couple pounds higher than usual.

With that said, using a scale is a quick and easy approach to monitoring your weight and reigning things in if your weight starts to creep up. In addition, research does indicate those who weigh themselves regularly maintain an ideal, healthier body weight that those who don’t.  

Should you use the scale to monitor results?

This is a personal decision and should depend on how emotional your response is based on the reading on the scale.

If you find that a weight increase can cause you to become discouraged, depressed, demotivated and negatively affect your day, then you should consider using another approach to monitoring results.

If a weight gain on the scale causes you to throw in the towel or negatively affects your behaviors, even though you’re doing all the right things, the scale may not be the best choice for you to use to monitor progress. 

If you are going to use the scale as one of your indicators of success, it is important that you measure yourself on the same scale each time and ideally in the morning before you eat and after you have a bowel movement.

Some people respond well to weighing themselves daily while others experience better success by measuring themselves only once per week to avoid the daily emotional roller coaster.

If you use a scale to provide accountability, look for trends and not get upset about daily fluctuations, then regular weight monitoring might work well for you.

Bottom line – the number on the scale is just a number. It doesn’t indicate what kind of person you are and shouldn’t affect the quality of your life or your daily mood. 

Other methods to measure weight loss success without or in addition to using a scale:

Girth Measurements

Have a trainer, friend or family member take measurements around your thighs, hips, waist, chest, and arms and monitor the change.

Body Fat Percentage

There are many techniques available to measure body fat including skinfold calipers, bioelectrical impedance, underwater weighing, and DEXA, being the gold standard. The thought is that it’s important to understand body composition and not just body weight. 


Another helpful tool in monitoring fat loss success is a picture, which provides a visual assessment that is more difficult to misinterpret. When using a photo to monitor progress, it’s important to wear minimal clothing to assess any significant changes. The person taking the photo should stand at the same spot away from you in each retest. You should also wear the same clothing to assure perception is not affected by color or cut of the material. Take three photos: one from the front, the side, and the back.


Some people prefer to monitor progress by how their clothes fit or which notch they use on their belt buckle. Be cautious of using this technique if you typically only wear loose clothing. The pandemic caused many to gain pounds without noticing because many were working from home. Wearing yoga pants and lounge wear won’t provide any valuable information to help avoid creeping weight gain. 

Health Variables

Some people respond well to focusing on health stats such as blood pressure, cholesterol level, and resting heart rate versus weight.

Performance Variables

Some people are very motivated by focusing on performance metrics such as their walking or running speed, how many pushups they can do or how much weight they can lift. Some have been successful at throwing away the scale and never looking back. 

Some of us will respond well to weighing ourselves daily, others should weigh less frequently, while others perhaps shouldn’t use the scale at all. It’s important to recognize that we are all individuals and what motivates or demotivates us will be different. We need to figure out what works to keep us on track towards our personal best and stick with that.

If you would like some assistance with sticking to your weight loss goals, join us for our Spring Makeover Challenge

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

127969malabi-pudding https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/malabi-pudding/ /wp-content/uploads/2022/04/IMG_5922-e1649568331145-1024x672-600x394.jpg

End your spring celebration with something different. Malabi Pudding is perfect for Passover, but equally enjoyable any time of year. A delicious rose water milk pudding, this custard-like dessert is gluten- and egg-free and can be vegan as well, if made with non-dairy milk. The pudding comes together quickly and requires only a few ingredients, but it does need to chill in the refrigerator to set, making it a perfect make-ahead dessert. The rose water scented pudding is silky and light, but not too sweet. Topped with a pretty pink raspberry syrup and chopped pistachios, this iconic Israeli dessert is deliciously different and it’s one you should try.

To make these dairy-free, I used coconut milk. However, almond milk, especially if it’s homemade, is a more traditional option. Try adding a pinch of cardamom to your pudding, or you can add a few cardamom pods to infuse the milk as it simmers. Although rosewater is the traditional flavoring, you can also use orange flower water and top with orange marmalade and chopped crystallized ginger. For a sweet-tart dessert, try topping with a bit of pomegranate molasses and garnishing with pomegranate arils (seeds). You can find rosewater at specialty markets. I found some at Anoush Deli and International Food Market.

Try something unexpected. Malabi Pudding is easy to make and can be adapted to fit many different dietary needs. It’s deliciously different and it’s a perfect way to end your celebration on a sweet note. Enjoy!


Malabi Pudding

Malabi Pudding 

4 to 6 servings


raspberry rose syrup (optional):

optional garnishes:

Combine 1/2 cup of milk with cornstarch and rosewater in a small bowl. Mix well with a fork or whisk, until mixture is smooth and lump-free. Set aside.

Combine remaining 2 1/2 cups of milk with sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves. Once bubbles break the surface, reduce heat to low. Stir cornstarch mixture, then add it to the simmering milk, stirring constantly. Cook pudding at a gentle simmer, stirring frequently, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until it coats the back of a spoon. 

Pour or spoon into 6 to 8 serving dishes. Allow to cool slightly, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours (pudding will firm as it cools).

While pudding chills, make the syrup. Combine sugar, water, and jam in a small saucepan set over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar and incorporate the jam. Once mixture is smooth, remove from heat and stir in the rose water. Transfer to a dish and refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, spoon a little syrup over the top of the pudding and garnish with slivered or chopped nuts or coconut, if desired. 

– recipe from thespruceeats.com


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Spring Makeover

It is common over the winter months to gain a little weight. The days are cold and dark, and we just don’t get as much activity. It’s one of the reasons that many local fitness clubs and training studios usually launch some type of Spring Weight loss, Cleanse or Makeover Challenge. At our studio, we have many clients that use our annual Spring Makeover Challenge to help shed that extra winter layer and focus on their health. Participants are assigned to teams and we all compete against each other to see who can ramp it up and achieve the best results. There’s nothing like a friendly competition and peer pressure to do what you need to do to reach your goals.

Although the principles to fat loss and healthy living are pretty simple, there can be many different approaches that can produce great results. The key is finding the program that works best for you that allows you to adhere to the program. With that said, there are typically a few key principles that would be consistent with any type of program and if you focused on these, you would experience some pretty fantastic results.

Nutrition Is At Least Half the Battle!


Drink at least 80 ounces of water each day. Drink water before and with each meal and snack

Lean towards more vegetables and fruit.

Eat 8-10 vegetable and fruit servings each day. Go local and organic as much as you can.

Eat a balanced diet that is high in fiber content.

Every macro-nutrient is critical including protein, carbs and fats. They all play an important role in optimal health.

Plan your meals.

Remember that portion control is critical to a makeover challenge 

Fast for 13 hours per day.

Avoid eating anything 3 hours before bedtime and allow about 13 continuous hours per day with no food intake. So, if you stop eating at 7pm, your next meal will be at 8am. 

Eliminate any unhealthy temptations….

from your environment (work, home, car) and replace with healthy alternatives that make adhering to a nutrition plan easier.

Plan to grocery shop…

at least once per week to stock up on healthy choices and fresh fruits and veggies and take the time to prep your meals for the week.

Exercise – Move Your Body!

Get the heart pumping.

Exercise aerobically 3-6 days each week for 20-60 minutes each session at various levels of intensity. Sometimes go hard and fast (1-2x/week), other times moderate intensity and duration (1-2x/week) and other times long and slow (1-2/week). Activities like walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, rowing, hiking, stair-climbing, or Group classes will do the trick.

Build muscle.

Incorporate strength and muscle workouts a minimum of two times per week. One set of 8-15 reps of a variety of exercises for 20-60 minutes is perfect! Movements like squats, lunges, step ups, burpees, pushups, pullups, core conditioning and other functional strength moves are great.

Stretch and release.

Finish each workout with some release and lengthening to assure we maintain our mobility and flexibility and help to prevent getting injured which can put a damper on our progress. 

Lifestyle – Set Yourself Up For Success!

Maintain a more active daily lifestyle.

If you start moving more in your life, then you won’t have to spend hours in the gym every week! Consciously choose the more active option whenever you can!

Get enough sleep.

(7-8 hours per night). Sleep is when your body recovers and repairs. If you do not sleep enough, you will not be prepared for each workout session and you will not function optimally. Plus research suggests that a lack of sleep triggers appetite and fat gain.

Control and manage your stress levels.

Identify your stresses. Outline methods that help you to reduce your stress and practice them regularly. Stress is also linked to increased appetite and weight gain.

Complete an online (or paper) activity and nutrition log….

every day and submit to someone to review (a trainer, a nutritionist, a friend)

Do a daily or weekly weigh-in…

and monthly measurements to help to monitor your progress. It helps to hold you accountable.

Enrolling in a local Spring Makeover Challenge or even starting a competition amongst friends, family or co-workers can really help you commit to doing what you probably already know you need to be doing to improve your overall health and fitness.

If you would like to join our Spring Makeover Challenge, click here for more details

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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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.

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The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and Easter is right around the corner. If you’re hunting for something deliciously different and trying to find something a bit healthier, these Carrot Cake Waffles are just the thing. Serve them for breakfast, brunch, or a fun dessert. You can even make them ahead. Sweetened with just a bit of maple syrup and made with only 2 tablespoons of oil, they’re everything you love about carrot cake, but in waffle form. Loaded with carrots and topped with tangy, light whipped cream cheese frosting, they’re just right for welcoming spring. 

Use your food processor to make your waffles. Start by finely chopping the carrots. You will need about 1 cup of chopped carrots, but a little more or less is okay, too. If you want to measure the carrots once they are chopped, spoon them into a 1 cup measure and then add them back into the processor. If you’d like to use jarred applesauce instead of an individual serving pouch, use 1/2 cup. To make this nut free, add 1/2 cup flour in place of the ground pecans. You can use any kind of waffle iron, although the recipe recommended the Belgian style.

I used a 1/2 cup measure to portion the batter into each quarter of the waffle iron and used the 3 setting on the temperature dial. Once you find a setting that works for your iron, leave it set that way. Also, make a note of the measurement you like to portion your waffles, so that next time you can make waffles without any guesswork.

I made another batch, vegan and gluten-free, using coconut milk, vegan buttery spread, gluten-free flour, flax eggs, and Daiya plant based cream cheese. Topped while still warm with the cream cheese frosting, they were delicious! Make either kind of waffle ahead. Rewarmed in the toaster oven they had a little bit of crunch on the outside, while still being tender and chewy inside.

What are you waiting for? Hop to it and make these for some bunny you love.

Carrot Cake Waffles

cream cheese frosting:

carrot cake waffles:

Preheat oven to 350º F. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, then pulse 1/2 cup in a food processor until finely chopped, but not ground. Transfer pecans to bowl, then roughly chop the remaining pecans for garnish. 

For cream cheese frosting, combine cream cheese and butter in a small bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth, about 1 minute. Add maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and salt; beat until mixed and smooth. Set aside. 

For carrot cake: Reduce oven to 200º F. Preheat a waffle iron to medium-high. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Measure milk into a liquid measuring cup, then add maple syrup, oil, lemon zest, vanilla, eggs and applesauce and whisk together. 

Add carrots to food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add liquid ingredients to carrots and pulse, then add flour mixture and chopped pecans. Pulse a few more times until just combined. 

Lightly brush the top and bottom of the waffle iron with oil. Fill each quarter of the waffle iron about three-quarters of the way full. Close lid gently and cook until waffles are golden brown and slightly crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Keep the cooked waffles warm in the oven while you make the remaining waffles. 

Spread each waffle with cream cheese frosting, then sprinkle with chopped pecans and dust with cinnamon. 

Freeze waffles, unfrosted, in resealable plastic bags, up to 1 month. Reheat in 350º oven or toaster oven until warmed through and crisp. 

– adapted from Food Network Kitchen recipe  


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Aqua fitness can improve cardiovascular health, develop muscle strength and endurance, increase flexibility, decrease body fat, improve circulation, help rehabilitate injuries, and even enhance sports skills. In addition, water fitness is a fun, social activity, and if you participate in an organized program, it’s a great way to meet new people with similar interests. 

In fact, many people preAqua Fitnessfer Aqua fitness year-round for the following reasons:

The buoyancy of water allows people to do exercises that are too difficult for them on land. Ninety percent of your body is buoyant when the water is up to your neck, so your body is exposed to a lot less pounding and jarring.

Water offers 12-14% more resistance in comparison to exercising on land. This means there is continual resistance to every move you make which enhances muscle definition. 

Water disperses heat more efficiently, so there is less chance of overheating. Exercising in the water is cooler and more comfortable than it is on land.

If you don’t have a home pool and need to venture out to a local pool, consider the following suggestions:

Check Out The Facility

Look for a pool that is clean, appears safe and is well-maintained. The water temperature should be comfortable: 82 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit (28-29 degrees Celsius). Inquire about the types of classes available. A facility that offers a lot of water fitness tools such as buoyancy belts and dumbbells, gloves, noodles and paddles will probably provide a greater variety of programming options.

Check Out The Instructors

Be sure the instructors are certified water fitness instructors and not just lifeguards to ensure they have the proper training to modify movements and intensity depending on your needs.  

Know Your Limitations

Luckily, water fitness is one of the safest activities you can do for a variety of special conditions including pregnancy, orthopedic problems and arthritis. However, it’s always a good idea to inform your instructor of any medical or injury issues. If you can’t swim, it’s safest to stick to programs that will be instructed in shallow water. 

Many exercisers are surprised to learn how many workout options are available to them in the water and/or pool:

Water Walking

Moving forward, backward, and sideways, using regular, short, quick, or long steps, in waist-deep to chest-deep water.

Water Aerobics

Full body rhythmic exercises conducted in shallow and/or deep water for 20 minutes or more, designed to provide cardiovascular benefits.

Water Toning/Strength Training

Upper and lower body moves designed to strengthen, firm, and sculpt the muscles by using the resistance of the water and/or water exercise equipment.

Flexibility Training

Large movements using each body part’s full range of motion, along with full body stretches.

Water Therapy & Rehabilitation

Procedures in the water designed and implemented for specific clinical purposes.

Water Yoga & Relaxation

Gentle, easy-flowing moves using the water as a relaxation medium.

Deep Water Running

Simulating land running in water depth where the feet do not touch the bottom of the pool. Flotation devices are used. Various running styles, drills, and methods can be used.

Wall Exercise (Deep or Shallow)

Using the pool wall for support to isolate various body parts.

Lap Swimming

If you are a proficient swimmer, of course you can always resort to swimming back and forth using various swimming strokes to obtain a great workout. However, it is still suggested that lap swimmers also consider other forms of water exercise in addition to lap swimming to maintain balance in their muscles.

Aqua Zumba

Think of it like a dance party in the pool! 

Call your local pool to find out which programs are offered.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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Want something really good for dinner? A home cooked meal, just the way you like it, and even better, there will be more dinners to come, but with no cooking and no  clean up afterwards. With the rising cost of food, it makes good sense to plan ahead. Take advantage of today’s prices and fill your freezer with things that are ready to eat. Here are two meals you can make this week that will help you stock your freezer at the same time. Work this strategy into everything you cook, and you’ll have a variety of meals you can make in minutes.

Let’s start with chicken. Thighs and legs are very economical, and they’re versatile, too. You can bake, broil, or pan fry them, but grilling them is a quick, no mess way to get an easy, flavorful meal. Season your chicken simply, with just salt and pepper. It’s delicious as is, and will also leave you with plenty of room for adding sauces or seasonings later. Eat some of your cooked chicken for dinner tonight. Freeze the rest in a ziptop bag, spread out in a single layer so that the pieces will freeze individually. Place the bag on a sheet pan and transfer to your freezer.

Next time you want chicken, remove the pieces you want, wrap them loosely in foil and reheat in a 350º F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until hot. You can add barbecue, teriyaki, or Thai peanut sauce to your warmed chicken, or try a spoonful of Dijon mustard swirled with apricot jam and some fresh or dried rosemary. I like making a simple sauce out of yogurt, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a little grated garlic (or if you’re time crunched, garlic powder), kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Easy as can be, and it will dress your grilled chicken up considerably. 

Another night, do the same thing with pork chops, steak, or chicken tenders. Broil, pan fry or grill, freeze them, and reheat. I have also had good results freezing chicken breasts that are pounded thin and pan fried in a little oil. You can top these with mozzarella cheese, a slice of tomato and some fresh basil for quick caprese chicken.

Next, it’s ground beef, turkey, or chicken. For crumbles, brown your meat in a large skillet at a moderate temperature, again, simply seasoned, so that you will have the most versatility later. Break up your meat with a spoon as it cooks, and once it browns, add 1/4 – 1/2 cup broth. Most of this will cook away as the meat continues to cook, but it will keep your ground meat moist. Use some for dinner on the night you cook it, added to marinara sauce and served over spaghetti, or make Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes. Transfer the rest into quart sized ziptop bags and freeze flat.

Pour frozen crumbles directly from bag to add to soups or casseroles, or use to top pizza. To rewarm, transfer to a microwave-safe dish and heat, adding taco seasoning to make tacos, burritos or a quick taco salad. Or top baked potatoes, adding some shredded cheese. I always cook bulk Italian sausage this way, freezing the cooked crumbles so they are ready to top pizza and add into soups, spaghetti sauce, or breakfast casseroles. 

You can also form ground meat into patties. Again, serve these hamburgers or turkey burgers on the night you cook them, but plan to freeze the rest for quick meals later, rewarming in foil as described above. Another night, make meatballs. The recipe below makes about 50. Add them to sauce and serve over pasta, make Italian Wedding Soup, or make quick Meatball Sandwiches.

Now that your freezer is stocked, you can just reheat and eat. Keep frozen veggies on hand and you’ve got dinner! 

Meatball Sandwiches


for sandwiches

Crack eggs into a large bowl and use a fork to lightly beat. Add onion, garlic, several grinds of black pepper, and parsley and stir to combine. Add ground turkey, oats, kale and Parmesan cheese  and mix lightly using fingers spread, rake-like, to poke/lift mixture until thoroughly combined. Form into evenly sized, 1.5 inch meatballs, arranging them with space between on baking sheet as you are rolling them. Bake for 15 minutes.

Slice rolls in half lengthwise. Combine meatballs and sauce and spoon into rolls. Top with cheese then place sandwiches under broiler until cheese melts.

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

Warm olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and bell peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft and a little brown on the edges. Pour in stock, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to a simmer. Add ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and black pepper; cook until sauce reduces, about 6 to 8 minutes. Turn off heat and lay cheese slices directly onto beef mixture in a single layer. Cover until cheese melts completely. Stir, then scoop meat and cheese into buns and serve. 

– adapted from recipe by Katie Lee Biegel



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Exercise balls can provide you an incredible full body workout with many benefits. By using an exercise ball instead of a traditional workout bench, you will work your trunk in almost every exercise helping to improve your balance, posture, body awareness, core strength and coordination. The good news is they aren’t very expensive and you can pick them up at most sporting goods or department stores. 

Here are a few exercises that will work your entire body

Stability Ball Chest Press + Bridging

Start by sitting on the exercise ball while holding your hand-weights.

Now, slowly start to curl backwards and move your feet outwards until you are lying over the ball with your head, neck and shoulder blades comfortably supported on the ball.

Your feet should be positioned right under your knees and your hips should be lifted up and square to the ceiling.

By holding this position, you will be working your hamstrings (back of thigh), gluteals (buttocks) and your core (abs and back).

Start with your arms extended upwards so that your wrists and elbows are directly above your shoulder with your thumbs facing each other.

Now, slowly lower the hand-weights so that your elbows travel out to the side.

The movement finishes when your upper arm is parallel to the floor and your wrist is positioned right over your elbow.

*Note* your elbow should not drop lower than your shoulder joint.

Slowly return to the starting position.

Keep your abdominals contracted throughout the entire exercise.

Repeat 8-15x.

Get On The Ball

Stability Ball Reverse Flies

Start by laying over the exercise ball on your stomach.

Try to keep your back neutral so that you are not slouched over the ball.

Keep your chest up, shoulders back and abdominals contracted throughout the entire exercise to help support your back.

Holding a pair of hand-weights and keeping your elbows slightly bent, slowly lift your arms up and out to the side.

Be sure to squeeze your shoulder blades together as much as you can at the upper part of the movement.

Slowly return to starting position.

Repeat 8-15x. 

Get On The Ball Get On The Ball


Seated Bicep Curl

Sit on the exercise ball making sure to sit perfectly upright.

Your abdominals should be contracted, your chest lifted up and out and your shoulders back.

Imagine that as you sit there is a rope extended from your head to the ceiling so that you sit as tall as you can.

Once you are in this starting position, you can begin the exercise.

Holding hand-weights with your arms at your side, slowly curl your hands upward towards your shoulders.

Repeat 8-15x with a weight sufficient to fatigue the front arm muscles. 

Get On The Ball


Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

Lay on your back with your feet positioned on the exercise ball.

With your arms at your side, slowly lift your hips and buttocks up towards the ceiling while contracting your glutes (buttocks) and hamstrings (back of thigh) until your body weight is resting comfortably on your shoulder blades.

Throughout the entire exercise, be sure to keep your hips square to the ceiling and your abdominals contracted.

Now, slowly curl the ball in towards your body while maintaining control and stability through your core area.

Slowly curl out and in 8-15x.  

Get On The Ball Get On The Ball


Stability Ball Inner Thigh Squeezes

Straddle the exercise ball from behind positioning your knees out to the side and underneath your hips.

Your feet should be behind you with your toes touching the ground helping to maintain your balance.

Keeping your abdominals contracted and maintaining perfect, upright posture, slowly squeeze your knees together contracting your adductors (inner thigh).

Perform 8-15 reps.

Get On The Ball Get On The Ball

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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Have you ever been in the position of finding a litter of kittens and wondering what to do next? To keep or not to keep, that is the question.

Kitten Finders, Kitten Keepers?

Here, then, are some answers — together with more questions.


  1. If you find a litter of kittens on or near your property, quickly assess their health. If they appear healthy, watch them, but don’t move them. Their mother is likely nearby. Stay far enough away – several car lengths – that you’re not considered a threat by their mother if she’s feral. If, however, the kittens seem distressed or are very vocal, and if their mother hasn’t returned by the end of the day, she may NOT be returning.


  1. Unless they’re in danger, however, it’s best to give their missing mother another chance to return and tend to them. Place them in a carrier or cardboard carton to keep them warm, safe and secure.

Kitten Finders, Kitten Keepers?

  1. Try to determine the age of the kittens. Are they newborns with their eyes closed and weighing less than 8 ounces? Or are they 8 weeks old, weighing 2 pounds, and resembling miniature cats? Not to mention every age and weight in between. Each age brings with it a different set of criteria as to their proper maintenance and care. If they’re newborns, contact local rescue groups or no-kill shelters ONLY that may be willing to take them in immediately.


  1. Are they feral (part of a colony of cats born to live and survive outdoors) or domestic kittens born to a family’s lost companion cat? Once again, this will determine the steps you take next.


  1. If it’s either too hot or too cold outside, raining or snowing, bring the kittens indoors and confine them to a clean, quiet and small room — whether a spare bedroom, bathroom or laundry room. Leave them in their carton or carrier with the door open, and provide them with a high-quality kibble, fresh water and cat litter. If the kittens are too young to feed themselves, you’ll need to bottle feed them every couple of hours. Should you choose this course, either contact a local vet or rescue group for advice and guidance.

Kitten Finders, Kitten Keepers?

  1. Within a few days, decide whether you want to temporarily foster them, bearing in mind that socializing them as quickly as possible will improve their chances of ultimately being adopted.

Kitten Finders, Kitten Keepers?

  1. Although adorable and impossible to resist, kittens do have little claws and sharp teeth. To protect yourself from unnecessary “battle scars”, wear gloves until the kittens grow comfortable with being handled.


  1. If you have other pets, keep them separated from the kittens to minimize the risk of their transmitting either parasites or infections to them.


  1. To make fostering the kittens easier, speak with the volunteers at the rescue group you’ve already contacted and ask for their advice – on all matters from A to Z.


  1. When it’s time for the kittens to “leave the nest”, either contact your vet, one who operates a re-homing center that will welcome yours if there’s room, or the rescue group. Relinquish the kittens into their care where they’ll be spayed/neutered, then set on the right path towards finding their fur-ever homes.


By your actions, compassionate and caring, you’ll have not only saved several small lives, but you’ll have shared in an extraordinary experience, one you’re unlikely to ever forget.



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Crispy, creamy crab rangoon are all the rage on TikTok. These delicious little pockets stuffed with seafood and cream cheese are very popular at many Chinese and Thai restaurants, and a hot platter of these crunchy bundles arriving at the table is always a fun part of any dining experience. Making them at home is incredibly easy, and a lot less expensive, and with just a few ingredients and a small bit of time, you can soon be eating this addictive appetizer in your own kitchen. 

 A staple on American Chinese restaurant menus, crab rangoons were likely invented by Victor Bergeron, the founder of Trader Vic’s, sometime in the 1950s. Dipped in sweet chili sauce, it’s hard to eat just one, and why should you when they are one of the few restaurant offerings you can successfully pull off with perfect results at home.

Take your cream cheese out a little ahead of time so that it softens and is easier to mix. You can use a 6-ounce can of white crab meat or packaged imitation crab. If you use imitation crab, be sure to shred it fully first. If you use canned crabmeat, drain it well before adding the cream cheese. There are many different ingredients that can be added to the crab and cream cheese filling, like garlic, ginger, chives, sesame oil, soy sauce, or sugar, but you can also make these with just crabmeat and cream cheese. If you’d like to make your filling a little sweeter, but don’t want to add any sugar, try adding 2 tablespoons of finely grated carrot. It will be imperceptible in the finished wontons, but it gives them just the right amount of sweetness. 

You can find wonton wrappers in the refrigerated section of the produce area. If you don’t use all of your wrappers, you can store them in the refrigerator for 7-10 days, or they can be frozen. Besides crab rangoon, there are many other ways to use wonton wrappers. You can make wontons for soup, dumplings (shumai), potstickers, or baked wontons. Or get creative and make mini quiche, apple pie cups, ravioli, samosas, or mini tacos. I had about 10 wrappers left, and am planning some bean and cheese empanadas that will bake in the air fryer. There isn’t anything these delectable little wraps can’t do, so be imaginative and put those remaining wrappers to good use! 

I formed my rangoons tortellini-style, but you could also make them in a purse shape, by bringing all four corners to the center and pressing the adjacent edges to seal. You do not want any excess air inside the wontons and to be sure to seal all edges so that the filling doesn’t leak out when they are frying. Use a high smoke point oil, like canola or vegetable, in a pot large enough to submerge the wontons fully. Ease the wontons gently into the oil to avoid splashing. Chopsticks are a handy way to move the wontons around and turn them as they cook.

Use extra caution when working with hot oil. Keep the pot handle turned in so that it doesn’t extend over the counter’s edge. Once the oil starts heating, do not leave the stove and don’t let the oil heat above 375ºF. Keep a lid next to the stove top for smothering flames and use a fire extinguisher, never water, to extinguish a grease fire.

While these are best eaten immediately, resist the urge to eat them as soon as they are coming out of the oil. The creamy filling is molten hot, so let them cool off a bit first. Cover and store any leftovers in your refrigerator. They will reheat perfectly on a foil lined baking sheet in a 350º F oven, warmed for about 5 to 7 minutes, or the air fryer set at the same temperature for 2-5 minutes, or until warmed through. 

Try these at home. You’ll be glad you did! 

Crab Rangoon (Crab and Cream Cheese filled Wontons)

Set out a small, prep-size bowl of water and a pastry brush, a sheet pan to place wontons on as you work, and another sheet pan with a cooling rack placed over it for the hot wontons. 

Place crab in a medium bowl and shred. Add cream cheese, chives, garlic powder, sesame oil, soy sauce and carrot (if using) to bowl and combine thoroughly with crab; mix evenly. 

Set out 3 wonton wrappers. Place 2 teaspoons filling into the center of each wrapper. Lightly brush the edges of one wonton wrapper with water. Bring two opposite points together and press corners together. Bring other opposite edges together to create a purse shape. Removing as much air as possible, seal the long side edges together. Repeat with remaining wrappers, placing on sheet pan as you work.

Heat oil in a large pot, dutch oven, or wok until it reaches 350º F (do not exceed 375º F). Add 4 wontons to the hot oil, pushing them down to completely submerge them. Deep fry until they become a golden brown color, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from oil using tongs or a metal spyder then transfer wontons to the cooling rack set over a sheet pan. Repeat with remaining wontons. Serve immediately with sweet and sour sauce for dipping. 





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The strength of your hips is critical to stabilize your pelvis while walking, running or playing sports. If your hips aren’t strong, your knees and back will suffer. Bridging is an exercise often used by physical therapists to help strengthen hips and it can be done anywhere with no equipment. 

There are several progressions and variations to the Bridge exercise and mixing it up will add variety and train your hips in many different angles and motions. 

Here’s some tips to performing a variety of different bridging exercises. Perform these exercises 2-3 days per week on alternating days.

Basic Bridge

A basic bridge begins by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Tighten your abdominal and buttock muscles and slowly lift your hips off the floor.

Roll up until your hips are high in a comfortable position and your body weight is resting on your shoulder blades.

Keep your hips square to the ceiling.

Try to avoid letting your pelvis tilt or rotate.

Hold this position for a few seconds and then slowly release down while maintaining the muscle activation in your hamstrings and glutes. Perform 10-20 reps.

Lift Your Hips & Reap the Benefits Lift Your Hips & Reap the Benefits

Add Load

You can increase the intensity by adding external resistance. Try holding a weight or barbell on your hips so as you thrust your hips upwards, you have more weight to lift. 

Adjust Speed

As a simple variation to this exercise, adjust the speed of the movement. Try 5 counts up, 5 counts down. Try 1 count up, 5 counts down. Try 1 count up, 1 count day. Adjusting the speed of movement will stimulate the muscles differently.

Add Adduction/Abduction

Another simple variation is to hold the bridge in the high position and allow the knees to move in and out laterally within a comfortable range of motion. 

Add Hip Tilts

Another simple variation is to start with the bridge in the high position and then allow one hip to drop/tilt down while the other lifts high. Tilt side to side. 

Progress to 1 Leg Bridging

A more advanced option is 1 Leg Bridging.

Lay on your back with 1 leg bent, foot on the floor and the other leg lifted straight up to the ceiling.

With your arms at your side, slowly lift your hips and buttocks up towards the ceiling while contracting your glutes (buttocks) and hamstrings (back of thigh) until your body weight is resting comfortably on your shoulder blades.

Throughout the entire exercise, be sure to keep your hips square to the ceiling and your abdominals contracted. Be sure not to tilt to one side while doing these 1-leg lifts. You can start by alternating legs and then progress to performing a set on one leg only and then repeating on the other side.

Lift Your Hips & Reap the Benefits

You can also adjust intensity by modifying the position of the leg in the air from bent to straight up towards the sky to straight and extended out away from the body and towards the floor. 

Lift Your Hips & Reap the Benefits Lift Your Hips & Reap the Benefits Lift Your Hips & Reap the Benefits

Add a Ball

Once your hips become strong, another more advanced progression is to use a stability ball.

Place your feet on the stability ball and then perform the bridge for an intense recruitment of your hips and hamstring muscles.

There are many variations of this exercise from two legs to one leg, straight legs, bent legs and holding the bridge while you curl the legs in and out. 

Lift Your Hips & Reap the Benefits Lift Your Hips & Reap the Benefits Lift Your Hips & Reap the Benefits Lift Your Hips & Reap the Benefits Lift Your Hips & Reap the Benefits Lift Your Hips & Reap the Benefits Lift Your Hips & Reap the Benefits Lift Your Hips & Reap the Benefits

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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Growing up in an Italian-American family, Sunday was family day. It was a day for gathering and every Sunday gathering centered around a large pot of sauce. Started early in the day, usually after breakfast, the smell of garlic warming in olive oil is so familiar that it always tugs at my heart. That bubbling sauce was so fragrantly tempting, we couldn’t wait for dinner, and more often than not we would convince my mom to ladle out a small bowl for us to eat with a piece of bread. Some Sundays, there was fresh pasta – wide ribbons of linguini or some of my mom’s home made ravioli made with ricotta cheese from the local goat farm. They were light as a feather and if you ever ate them, you would never be satisfied with restaurant ravioli again. 

The sauce formula is a simple one. Drizzle a good bit of olive oil into the bottom of a deep pot. Warm the oil over medium heat, then add 1 medium chopped onion. Cook and stir until translucent. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic. Stir and cook until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Pour in enough red wine to cover the entire bottom of the pot. Let this bubble and reduce. Add tomato – 2 or 3 cans of tomato sauce, or 1 can of sauce and 1 can of diced tomatoes, or a big jar or two of home canned tomatoes, and a can of tomato paste. Add some water, being sure to swirl it in all the cans to get all the sauce out. Add Italian seasoning, basil, some freshly ground black pepper, and a shake of red pepper flakes if you like. Cover and let cook on low heat all day, stirring every so often, until it becomes thick. 

March is National Sauce Month. Get saucy and celebrate with two new dishes that use just a few ingredients and only take minutes to prepare. Both sauces are so simple, you can make and finish them in the time it takes the pasta to cook, proving that yes, you can make a delicious, restaurant style pasta dish in no time. 

Making pesto with spinach is genius. Unlike traditional pesto made with basil, this vibrant green sauce won’t brown. Use fresh spinach and garlic for best results, especially important here because there are only 4 ingredients.  No need to mince the garlic for this recipe, just smash. Take your large-bladed knife and place the flat side down on top of the garlic clove. Point the sharp side of the knife away from you. Firmly press your palm down on the flat side of the knife until the garlic clove flattens. Don’t fret about using 1/2 cup of olive oil. It may seem like a copious amount, but it is getting distributed over an entire pound of pasta. I used radiatori in place of cavatappi, because that is what I had on hand, but any other short sturdy pasta shape, like fusilli or rigatoni, would also work well. 

For another easy 4 ingredient recipe, try this Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce. Flavorful and impressive, it comes together just as quickly as the spinach pesto, and is equally easy to make. If you don’t have pine nuts, walnuts would be a great substitute. 

For a quick, easy meal you can enjoy at home, celebrate all things saucy!

Tracy’s Spinach Pesto 

Combine olive oil and garlic in a large skillet set over low heat. Cook until garlic has softened, about 10 minutes; the garlic should not take on any color. 

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Cook cavatappi in boiling water according to package directions, until pasta is al dente. When pasta is done, reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, drain pasta and return to pot. 

While pasta cooks, if using red pepper flakes, add them to garlic-infused oil and cook for 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium high, then add spinach and a pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring often until completely wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer spinach and all pan juices to blender; add pecorino and process until smooth.

Add spinach pesto to pasta and stir to coat, adding reserved water by the tablespoonful, if needed, until sauce is a creamy consistency. Spoon into bowls and serve immediately with a sprinkling of pecorino.  

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Melt butter in a large stainless-steel skillet set over medium-high heat. Stir constantly, until the milk solids of the butter turn amber in color and it has a nutty aroma, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off heat, add sage and stir; let steep.

Cook ravioli in boiling water according to package directions, until al dente. Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to transfer ravioli into the butter sauce (don’t worry if some of pasta water transfers as well). Return heat to medium high heat and cook, stirring gently, until ravioli are coated with sauce.  

Plate ravioli, then drizzle with butter sauce and garnish with toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.   

– recipes by Anthony Contrino

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With the arrival of spring comes the birth of millions of newborn kittens, the majority of them born to feral cats living outdoors. Fortunately, however, most of these kittens will make excellent family pets if they’re rescued and properly socialized at an early age.

Fading Kitten Syndrome and Fostered Kittens

Enter the compassionate, attentive and nurturing foster home. And yet, tragically, despite the most ideal conditions, a disproportionate number of these well-tended kittens will succumb to fading kitten syndrome. According to the most recent estimates, 15 to 27 percent of them will die before they’re nine weeks old, while mortality among litters of foster kittens can be as devastatingly high as 100 percent.


What, then, is fading kitten syndrome? And, more importantly, can it be treated?


Fading kitten syndrome describes and encompasses a number of problems and conditions that can cause young kittens to die. Most of those who die from this syndrome seem to sicken and die suddenly. With a few exceptions, such as trauma and hypothermia, however, the problem usually builds gradually and is extremely difficult to detect until a crisis develops. The key, therefore, to reducing such a high mortality rate in these kittens is the early detection of any subtle problems before a crisis develops.

Fading Kitten Syndrome and Fostered Kittens

Blue british kitten in men’s hand, little kitten

Potential causes of fading kitten syndrome include:

Inadequate mothering by the kittens’ mother. Most foster kittens are particularly at risk if they were orphaned or abandoned by their mothers. Even kittens with mothers can be at risk if those mothers are young and inexperienced, stressed, malnourished, unable to produce enough milk, unwilling to allow their kittens to nurse or are, paradoxically, obese.

Fading Kitten Syndrome and Fostered Kittens

Bacterial infections that result in sepsis. Viral infections like calcivirus, feline herpesvirus, feline AIDS (FIV), feline leukemia (FeLV) and panleukopenia. Parasitic infestations with coccidia, roundworms or other organisms. Many of these infections are linked to a complete collapse of the immune system, usually associated with a condition called thymus atrophy.


Hereditary defects ranging from heart irregularities to undeveloped immune systems. Hemolytic anemia, which occurs when a kitten’s blood type differs from her mother’s. When that kitten nurses during the first days of her life, she ingests antibodies that will attack her blood cells.


While the early signs of fading kitten syndrome are subtle, they’re usually detectable, and foster parents should be aware of them. Sick kittens may not be capable of righting themselves when turned on their backs. They may have a poor suckling reflex. Their eyes may not open at the usual age of five days to two weeks. They will often be smaller than their littermates and may not gain weight normally. Healthy kittens should gain from 7 to 10 grams a day. (Many experts recommend weighing kittens on a gram scale twice a day). Kittens not gaining weight at an appropriate rate must, therefore, receive extra attention with a special focus on feeding.

Fading Kitten Syndrome and Fostered Kittens

Fosters should be on the alert for constant noises such as whining or crying even after feeding, gradually worsening lethargy, weakness, labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea and nasal or eye discharge. These symptoms constitute a crisis and require an immediate visit to the vet. Recovery is possible if the underlying cause can be quickly identified and treatment started in time. Supportive care usually includes fluids, dextrose to support blood sugar levels, antimicrobials, nutritional support, oxygen support and body temperature support.


If a kitten does survive this crucial period and grows stronger, long-term management in her foster home must focus on proper nutrition, scrupulously clean living conditions, preventative health care, and especially close monitoring of her food intake to ensure she gains weight. Sadly, though, the prognosis for most kittens in crisis is poor, with many of them dying even with treatment. And one kitten lost doesn’t augur well for that kitten’s remaining littermates.

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Since cats are both predators and prey, they are programmed to perpetually assess their environment. As creatures of habit, territorial and tenacious, they must feel safe rather than sorry before relaxing their guard and revealing their sociable side.


The Purr-fect Way to Greet Your New Kitty

Female Silver Egyptian Mau cat, Holly, sniffing noses with her kitten, 14 weeks old

That said, giving your new kitty companion some space before greeting her is key to earning her trust and winning her heart. Why? Because this affords her the opportunity to decide if she feels comfortable enough to interact with you or if it’s best, temporarily at least, for her to keep her distance.


Always allow HER to approach YOU. If she senses that she has a choice, she’s far less likely to run off.


Avoid looking her in the eye. Since a direct stare is considered a challenge in the animal world, use brief, soft glances – much like repeated slow blinks — to reassure her that you’re not a threat.

The Purr-fect Way to Greet Your New Kitty

To seem less imposing, never stand (read “tower”) over her. Instead, either kneel down or sit on the floor. Meant to put her at ease, this should also encourage her to come closer, paw step by paw step, and begin her scent investigation of you.


Because cats rely so heavily on their highly developed sense of smell, you can use this to your mutual advantage. Slowly extend your index finger to see if she’ll venture even closer for that all-important first sniff. This is akin to two cats meeting one another for the first time and “going nose to nose” as each sniffs the other’s unique scent.

The Purr-fect Way to Greet Your New Kitty

If she does, indeed, sniff your finger, pay close attention to what she does next. If she rubs against your finger, this is a friendly sign. If she moves in closer to rub against your arm, it’s an even friendlier sign, showing that she obviously feels comfortable enough to share this almost immediate, more intimate contact with you. But if she sniffs your finger and either stands still or backs away, it means that she’s still not quite sure of you. Resist the impulse to make any further moves in her direction. She may return for a second sniff or she may simply choose – for the moment — to retreat altogether. If she does, don’t think of this first experience as a failure. By being patient, giving her the choice and not pressuring her, you’ve established that all-important initial bond of trust. Hopefully, she’ll feel more comfortable the second time – or the third — and engage with you sooner and go farther.


The Purr-fect Way to Greet Your New Kitty

If, on the other hand, you’re actually able to pet your new kitty, don’t push her tolerance level, particularly when she’s just learning to trust you. The same rule applies if she settles down beside you or curls up in your lap. If she decides, at any time, to move away, don’t grab her or try to lure her back. As long as she knows that she’s free to leave, she’ll feel that much more comfortable getting closer to you the next time.

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It’s a question posed by puzzled cat parents everywhere: Do our feline friends truly HATE water?


According to most animal behaviorists and scientists, the answer is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no.” Why? Because the relationship between cats and water is, in itself, complicated — for several reasons.


From an evolutionary standpoint, today’s domestic cats are descended from Arabian wild cats who inhabited areas where the climate was arid with few if any large bodies of water, thereby negating the necessity to learn how to swim in order to survive. Succinctly put, there’s virtually nothing in the ancestral lineage of domesticated cats that would have ever prepared them for being bathed – in a tub or even a sink.

Why Do Cats Hate Water?

Because they still retain many of the same instincts as their ancestors, today’s cats are always alert to potential threats and must be fit enough to either fight or flee should the need arise. But if their fur is wet (read “drenched” or “soaked”), it’s akin to being weighed down by a cold, heavy blanket due to the fact that their coats dry very slowly. Not only is this distinctly uncomfortable, it impedes their ability to move, compromises their agility, and leaves them vulnerable to attack.


And since cats typically spend 30 to 50 percent of each day meticulously grooming themselves, licking their fur to remove skin oils and fluffing their coats, they scarcely need bathing. In fact, their sole exposure to water seldom extends beyond their water bowls. It’s purr-fectly understandable, then, that their reaction to anything else would be one of fear. Especially if their earliest exposure to water was getting caught in the rain, being forced into a flea bath or being disciplined with a spray bottle or squirt gun to dissuade them from jumping onto or scratching furniture and/or kitchen counters.


Cats are gifted with a highly developed sense of smell and are thus able to detect the chemicals in tap water – an extremely unpleasant experience, at least for them. They also have numerous scent glands in their bodies that produce pheromones used for marking and communicating with other cats, and water – from tap water to scented bathwater — interferes with these abilities.

Why Do Cats Hate Water?


Why then, do so many cats splash about in their water bowls and/or stare in such rapt fascination at the water streaming from a sink faucet or filling up a bathtub? Because it has very little to do with the water itself and everything to do with the way it looks, sounds and moves. To them, the shimmering, flickering light patterns dancing about so seductively means only one thing: potential prey and, thus, a source of food – an instinct as old as the species itself.


And yet, surprisingly, there are some cats who not only enjoy water but LOVE swimming in it! Among them are the Abyssinian, American Bobtail, Bengal, Japanese Bobtail, Maine Coon, Manx, Norwegian Forest Cat, Savannah, Turkish Angora and Turkish Van.


Why Do Cats Hate Water?


If you have a young kitten, it’s always possible to help her feel more comfortable around water. Since her most impressionable time of life is between three and 16 weeks, expose her slowly to water using treats or toys as positive reinforcement. Should you have an older cat who’s either sick or has arthritis and can’t groom herself properly, bathing her may become a necessity. Even she can be conditioned to enjoy – or at least, tolerate – the water, although the process will, understandably, be slower and take longer.




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Feline cerebellar hypoplasia, familiarly called wobbly cat syndrome, is a neurological disorder that occurs when the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls coordination, doesn’t fully develop while kittens are still in their mothers’ wombs. Affecting a cat’s balance and fine motor skills, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe, it’s neither painful nor contagious, and symptoms shouldn’t grow worse over time. And although there’s no cure, many cats with this condition can still live long, enjoyable, albeit somewhat clumsy, lives.

Cerebellar Hypoplasia in Cats

According to veterinary experts, cerebellar hypoplasia most commonly occurs when a pregnant cat becomes infected with the feline panleukopenia virus, or feline distemper, and passes the infection along to her unborn kittens. Other less common causes include a kitten suffering a brain trauma while the cerebellum is still developing or being exposed to such inflammatory diseases as toxoplasmosis in the womb.


Symptoms of cerebellar hypoplasia typically exhibit themselves when kittens are between four and six weeks old – or when they’re able to stand and walk. These symptoms usually include head bobbing and head tremors, jerky or uncoordinated walking, swaying from side to side or walking as if drunk, an unsteady or clumsy, wide-legged stance, the inability to judge distance properly, splayed feet and/or falling over.

Cerebellar Hypoplasia in Cats


While there’s no standard test to diagnose this disorder, a vet or veterinary neurologist can always order an MRI scan to detect an underdeveloped cerebellum. But first, a vet will perform a thorough physical examination of the kitten that includes blood work, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis in order to rule out other, possibly serious medical conditions.


How, then, should YOU care for a kitty with cerebellar hypoplasia?


  1. Spay or neuter your cat since certain types of cerebellar hypoplasia are genetic and can be inherited by his or her offspring.


  1. Make your cat an indoors-only cat and never let her outside alone. With her lack of coordination and balance, she’s more prone to injuries and won’t be able to protect herself against potential predators. To satisfy her natural curiosity and innate urge to explore, build a “catio” type of structure for her or teach her to walk on a leash.


  1. Never de-claw your “wobbly” cat. Because she can’t typically jump, she’ll need her claws for balance in order to develop her climbing skills.


  1. Make it easier for her to eat and drink by raising her food dish and water bowl (both should also be wider than regular ones) off the floor.  (This picture is an example of a food bowl on the floor, and the difficulties a cat with cerrebellar hypoplasia might exhibit.)

Cerebellar Hypoplasia in Cats

  1. Provide her with a large, easily accessible litter box, perhaps with the addition of a specially designed ramp to make getting in and out of it even easier.


  1. Where applicable, set up baby gates restricting all access to any stairs, preventing her from tumbling down them and harming herself.


  1. For hardwood, tile or especially slick floors, put down non-slip mats or foam pads to create traction for her, and place them in front of her litter box, raised food dish and water bowl as well.


  1. With jumping and running a challenge, encourage her to exercise by climbing – and climbing some more. Provide her with carpeted cat trees and other climbing spots, then cushion the areas around them with foam pads or small blankets to provide her with a soft landing should she fall.


  1. Ask your vet or a trained expert to demonstrate various physical therapy exercises for you to practice together to help boost her self-confidence and build up the strength in her legs. Specially designed toys and particularly hardy long strings can also work wonders on her muscle tone and flexibility.


  1. For more severe cases of cerebellar hypoplasia, some vets recommend hydrotherapy. Thanks to the buoyancy of the water, hydrotherapy can help build up her muscle strength, which, in turn, aids in mobility.



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Although many owners believe that an extremely dry or wet cat nose is indicative of illness, nothing could be further from the truth.

Cat Noses: Wet vs Dry

Not only are some cats’ noses naturally drier than others, but most cats’ nose temperatures and moisture levels vary throughout the day. The best way, then, to determine whether or not there’s reason for worry is to know what’s normal for your own cherished cat companion.


Curious as to why a cat’s nose is wet in the first place? The rhinarium (the skin around her nostril openings) and the sweat glands on it create moisture, while her lower tear ducts create drainage – both of which contribute to her having a wet nose. Just as we sweat in order to regulate our body temperature, cats use their noses’ moisture to both remain cool and to regulate their own body temperature. And since cats are famous for being fastidious self-groomers, their continous licking automatically adds a layer of moisture to their noses, keeping them wet.


Just as common as a wet nose is a dry one, and it’s seldom a cause for concern. If a cat spends a good deal of her time either sitting or lying in direct sunlight, her nose may be dry – similar to the drying effects that sunbathing has on our skin. The same holds true for a cat who spends too much of her time near a fireplace or a heating vent. The level of humidity in the air – particularly during the winter months – also plays a part in her nose’s level of moisture.

Cat Noses: Wet vs Dry

However, when a cat has an overly dry nose or one whose skin is cracked or flaking, the cause is dehydration, resulting from either decreased water intake or increased fluid loss. If you think your kitty is suffering from dehydration, bring her to the vet. Other signs of dehydration include: sunken eyes, dry mouth, elevated heart rate, skin elasticity, lethargy, depression, loss of appetite and panting.


Unlike a wet nose, a runny nose merits a visit to the vet in order to rule out – or rule in – such illnesses as upper respiratory infections (URIs). A number of viral and bacterial infections can cause URIs, including feline herpesvirus and feline chlamydia bacteria. Common symptoms of URIs are red, watery eyes, an excessively runny nose, a bubbly and colored nasal discharge, and sniffling and sneezing.

Cat Noses: Wet vs Dry

On the other hand, a runny nose could just as easily be due to an allergy. After a thorough examination of your cat, an in-depth discussion of her symptoms and living conditions, your vet may recommend changes in her food and/or litter as well as in her environment.


In short, a healthy cat’s nose tends to switch back and forth between moist and dry throughout the day. The more you familiarize yourself with your own feline’s daily pattern, the more easily you’ll recognize when something’s amiss, requiring a visit to the vet.

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.

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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
103134food-evokes-joy-of-friendship http://blogs.columbian.com/small-plates/2019/03/16/food-evokes-joy-of-friendship/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/03/IMG_1097-1024x768-600x450.jpeg

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
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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
95891research-shows-marijuana-ends-up-in-breast-milk-4 http://blogs.columbian.com/healthbeat/2018/04/12/research-shows-marijuana-ends-up-in-breast-milk/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/11/pot-600x400.jpg

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).

**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.

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
96397clark-county-transplant-managing-balancing-act-with-wine-and-family-7 http://blogs.columbian.com/corks-and-forks/2017/02/03/clark-county-transplant-managing-balancing-act-with-wine-and-family/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Willful-Wine-Co-2-682x1024-306x460.jpg
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
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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”
101100avocado-egg-salad-13 http://blogs.columbian.com/paleomama/avocado-egg-salad/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/IMG_0340-1024x682-600x399.jpg

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?
101105coconut-curry-chicken-and-vegetable-soup-13 http://blogs.columbian.com/paleomama/coconut-curry-chicken-and-vegetable-soup/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/IMG_0215-1024x682-600x399.jpg

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
95859bacon-guacamole-sliders-12 http://blogs.columbian.com/paleomama/bacon-guacamole-sliders/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/11/100_7100-1024x769-600x450.jpg

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!
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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 .

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(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 .

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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
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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
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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
82116threats-of-apples-flying-again-8 http://blogs.columbian.com/political-beat/2016/05/13/threats-of-apples-flying-again/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Lauren_Dake_110_1-150x150.jpg

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 .

82568homes-just-keep-getting-bigger-and-biggerer-7 http://blogs.columbian.com/digital-desk/2016/05/11/homes-just-keep-getting-bigger-and-biggerer/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Screen-Shot-2016-05-11-at-4.22.44-PM-1024x943-499x460.png

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
83437single-mother-of-seven-adopted-children-finds-balance-in-schoolkidsfarm-5 http://clarkcofaces.columbian.com/single-mother-of-seven-finds-balance-in-schoolkidsfarm/ /wp-content/uploads/2018/01/107976-moms-day-feature_01-600x429.jpg

“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)

99777portland-slow-out-of-the-gate-again-10 http://blogs.columbian.com/portland-timbers/2016/05/10/portland-slow-out-of-the-gate-again/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Caleb-Porter-459x460.jpg

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:

So what ails the Timbers?  

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.

Portland slow out of the gate again!
82118socialist-pizza-8 http://blogs.columbian.com/political-beat/2016/05/07/socialist-pizza/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Lauren_Dake_110_1-150x150.jpg

The Clark County Democrats’ 2016 convention last week was chaotic and lasted hours.
The event was scheduled to end by 5 p.m. but ran past 9 p.m.

As Stevie Mathieu reported, it started with a “burst of enthusiasm” but turned to “crankiness for many participants.”

Throughout the state of Washington and surely other states, Democratic caucuses blew past deadlines.

It appears Bernie Sanders’ supporters figured out sometimes people need more than a revolution.

They need pizza.

Enter, socialist pizza!

A Facebook group called just that “socialist pizza” sends pizza to sustain supporters through the night. It’s a smart move to make sure Sanders’ supporters stick it out.

After the caucus, one supporter wrote on the group’s Facebook wall, “Your pizzas were worth it!” and added that Sanders’ earned overwhelming support in Clark County.

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 .

82120apple-threats-missing-their-target-7 http://blogs.columbian.com/political-beat/2016/05/07/threats-of-apples/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Lauren_Dake_110_1-150x150.jpg

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray is campaigning for her fifth term in Congress and, once again, the apple throwers are ready.

It’s not the first time some of Murray’s opponents have encouraged throwing apples on rooftops of her supporters. But this time, they seem to be missing their target.

“I’m a registered Republican,” said Lisa Schmidt, who lives in the 49th Legislative District, and received one of the letters.

The note, once again signed from Titania and handwritten using bubbly letters, appeared a couple of weeks ago.

It’s the same notes that has surfaced in some of Murray’s previous elections.

“Dear reader of this note,” it says, “We have been throwing 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.”

The letter circulated in 2015 encouraging people to throw apples started out with: “Some of us wish for our purses not to be emptied nor to see our dictionary become skinnier to please their ears … In the neighborhood if someone pulls the clothes off of your clothes line, then you have a license to pull the clothes off their line. That is how things have always worked in neighborhoods.”

In previous years, similar letters have circulated about Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon.

And rotten tomatoes have caused a stir in Vancouver when they were left in President Barack Obama supporters’ yards.

Although The Columbian has heard from a half dozen people who have received a similar letter, we haven’t actually heard of anyone who found apples on their roof or who has had a broken window.

Most of the people who have received the note mentioned they are Republicans.

“I took it as a threat,” Schmidt said. “Everyone who works in politics I talked to said it was threatening, it’s threatening our property and Republicans take property matters very seriously.”

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 .

99785dealing-without-darlington-11 http://blogs.columbian.com/portland-timbers/2016/04/13/dealing-without-darlington/ /wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Darlington-Nagbe-459x460.jpg

There’s no question the pain of losing Darlington Nagbe, for us supporters, is nowhere near the physical pain Nagbe experienced as a result of that brutal tackle by Nigel de Jong!

How do they do that?





All to play for:


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.

Dealing without Darlington
82273thompson-metal-fab-4 http://clarkcofaces.columbian.com/thompson-metal-fab/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/11/454412-jobs_05-600x400.jpg

“I think things are fine. A lot of fabricators are busy,” said Michael Moore, business development manager for Thompson Metal Fab. “Commercial, industrial and residential construction means masons, carpenters and fabricators are doing really well.”

Employee John Laughter takes measurements on a pipe Friday morning, March 25, 2016 at Thompson Metal Fab. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

Thompson Metal Fab

Production journeyman Andrey Nikiforov, center, lends a hand while joining other welders at work Friday morning, March 25, 2016 at Thompson Metal Fab. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

Thompson Metal Fab

Crews work behind the scenes Friday morning, March 25, 2016 at Thompson Metal Fab. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

Thompson Metal Fab

Employees George Mason, left, and Mike Marsh look over shop drawings Friday morning, March 25, 2016 at Thompson Metal Fab. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

Thompson Metal Fab

A tape measure is seen hanging from the pocket of employee John Laughter on Friday morning, March 25, 2016 at Thompson Metal Fab. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)


82279the-homeless-artist-4 http://clarkcofaces.columbian.com/the-homeless-artist/ /wp-content/uploads/2017/11/04-07_A1_homeless_artist.1-600x399.jpg

“You just forget yourself for a few minutes. When I get mad, I work. When I get sad, I work.” – Mandi Vee

The Homeless Artist

The Homeless Artist

Entering the downtown Vancouver Community Library, on any given day, you might notice one of the tables covered in a purple velvet cloth belonging to Mandi Vee. There’s not enough room to make jewelry in the broken-down van where she sleeps each night with her husband, K.C. Vee. At the library, she can spread out a bit, get something to drink and charge her cellphone.

Vee said she’s long struggled to hold down a regular job; her part-time job at Michaels craft store in Jantzen Beach is her longest stint yet. She’s been homeless off an