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Esther Smith

Stories by Esther

Subscription contest underway at the News

Our hard-working team of sales kids has hit the streets for the 2016 Kids Subscription Contest, and chances are one will be knocking at or calling your house soon, if they haven’t already.

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Miss O’s Espresso brings coffee, smoothies to Pine Grove

Courtney Harvey opened Miss O’s Espresso, located in the parking lot of The Boys Pine Grove Grocery, 2375 Highway 35, on March 15, 2015.

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Blossom festivities reflect Hood River’s small-town goodness

We Eat Well — "You can't find gooseberry pie anywhere, but we get it here every year," said Longview's Harry Blair, who ate at the Parkdale Grange Blossom Dinner with his wife, Dorothy, and his brother, Terry, and his wife, Suzie.

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Harvest Fest Weekend Sampler 2013

Folks enjoy pumpkins, choose fruit from overflowing bins, and munch on pies throughout a sun-drenched Hood River valley autumn weekend

Large crowds of people having fun.

Fueled by community: School mosaic bubbles with creativity

What is the art equivalent of green thumb? Hood River Middle School eighth-graders have it, whatever it is. The students spent hours this winter and spring on a mural project paying tribute to growing of food and the people who do it.

A runner writes: At Boston, ‘we cried for a different reason’

Mike Gangwer was running his 199th marathon on April 15 when the explosions went off near the finish line.

Expert recommends changes to school finance oversight

Says department needs better communication; more people involved

The Hood River County School District recently hired a consultant to review its financial department’s processes, after learning in February that last year’s expenditures exceeded its budget by $1.4 million.

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Students host April 11 fashion show and auction

Teen talent abounds at Hood River Valley High School, and some of that creativity will fill the Columbia Center for the Arts Thursday evening.

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Lions Follies returns with ‘The Wacky Wild West’

Lions Follies scheduled April 5-6, 11-13

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A slice of local life: Dave Koebel: Passion for river and sky

This week has been mostly cold, windy and rainy; not exactly the kind of weather that makes you want to go flying. But Thursday at Ken Jernstedt Airfield in Hood River, Dave Koebel is doing his pre-flight check to make sure everything is ready for a flight.

Public can still weigh in on school boundaries

Both community forums for the school attendance boundary study have come and gone, but parents and other community members have until the end of March to share their ideas for solutions with the 12-member committee that has been looking at the imbalance in school enrollment and building capacities throughout the district.

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Forums explore answers to school capacity issues

What would be the best way to deal with the problem of overcrowding in some schools and under-enrollment in others?

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Hood River County School District picks Dan Goldman as new superintendant

The Hood River County School Board concluded its search for a new superintendent Wednesday evening and offered the position to Dan Goldman, current director of instruction and elementary education with the Tigard-Tualatin School District.

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It's all in the family

A look at some family-owned businesses in the Gorge

Mother and son personify yin and yang; Davises grow, work together; Sheppards: Business success rests on enjoying each other's company; Capovillas: 'Simple, straight-up' pub family

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HRCSD deals with $1.4 million over-expenditure

Board calls for better communication after miscalculations led to budget discrepancy

A furor of sorts erupted this week at the Hood River County School Board meeting, stemming from some disturbing fiscal news that came out of the Feb. 13 board meeting.

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Life’s many changes kept things interesting for the Kollases

The constant in Paul and Maria Kollas’ life together has been its inconstancy — from the very beginning of their marriage in 1962.

School board to hear boundary study update

The Hood River County School District Board of Directors will hold its next regular meeting Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the district office, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

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A slice of local life: Kevin Long straightens things out at Apple City

This time of year, cars are sliding into each other, into guardrails and into ditches. And that means plenty of work for Kevin Long.

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2-hour school delay explained

It may have been a surprise to some people that the Hood River County School District chose to have a two-hour delay on Wednesday, when most of the valley had just a trace of snow.

‘Everybody’s got the spirit’

Once again, the Hood River County Christmas Project has spread Christmas cheer to families who might not have had any otherwise.

Leaner times — but boy, were they fun

As a child, Christmas was a magical time, even though from the viewpoint of a child who had been primed by relentless toy advertisers, perhaps a bit disappointing.

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Kaleidoscope: 15 years of the Nutcracker

Nearly 400 ballet students at Columbia Gorge Dance Academy performed in three shows of “Scenes from The Nutcracker” over the weekend in Hood River Middle School’s auditorium.

This was the 15th annual benefit performance of “Scenes from The Nutcracker” for FISH and Providence Hospice of the Gorge.

School District Boundary changes in 2013?

With some elementary school classes bursting at the seams and others not so much, the Hood River County School District administration and board of directors believe it is time to take another look at the district’s boundaries in the hope of evening out student distribution.

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Photo of the day: Library celebrates Dickens

Zan Lapp plays with plastic candy canes as she prepares to hang them on the Hood River County Library’s Christmas tree Tuesday during its “Charles Dickens Week” kickoff party.

School board reschedules meeting

The Hood River County School Board meeting scheduled for Dec. 12 has been moved up to Tuesday, Dec. 4. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the district office board room. The agenda is available at, as well as the minutes from the Nov. 14 meeting.

HR School Board celebrates levy vote

In its first regular meeting since the Nov. 6 general election, the Hood River County School District board of directors celebrated the passage of the local option levy.

Rainy runs raise funds

It’s just one little fun run, but it helps students throughout the school year.

Tasting Tables bring farms to the classroom

Pears trump tomatoes in the school cafeterias, according to OSU Extension Service’s Lauren Kraemer, after the latest tasting table events in Hood River Schools.

PERS hike a $1.6 M blow to schools

The bad news is out: PERS rates are going up.

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Kaleidoscope: Tales from the Fruit Loop

This week's Kaleidoscope focuses on the places and people of the Hood River Valley Fruit Loop.

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Cody’s Orchards Farm Stand is filled with fruit – and whimsy

I first went to Cody Orchards Farm Stand because I know the owners, Glen and Donna Cody, having been Glen’s classmate at Hood River Valley High School.

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Kaleidescope: Earth Center, Delta Kappa host home tours

Two long running home tours show all that comes with living in the Gorge.

First-graders crowded at Mid Valley, parents say

The school year is still new, but a group of Mid Valley Elementary School parents already have a few concerns, which they voiced at Wednesday’s school board meeting. Among the complaints were that classroom sizes are too large, new bus schedules are creating safety issues and there is a distinct lack of dual-language instruction.

School work

As fall arrives, students will see results of summer building projects

This summer Hood River County schools may not have seen the major construction projects that were undertaken in 2011, but some of the schools got some pretty welcome upgrades.

Schools ready for students

The new school year is imminent, and reports are that all systems are go!

Wanted: ‘Forever Homes’

Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue aids felines in need

Four kitten siblings are busy scampering, chasing, leaping and tackling each other in a spare bedroom in Jane Keeler’s house. They are the picture of health and happiness.

At Hood River Reads finale: The journey

Cardboard boxes were a constant in Francisco Jiménez’s childhood. The author of this year’s book selection for Hood River County Reads, “The Circuit,” told a large audience Monday evening that the boxes represented the fragile and unstable life of a migrant family.

Pirates of Neverland

A 36th-annual Mid-Columbia Lions Follies presentation

The Mid-Columbia Lions Follies continues its run of “Pirates of Neverland” on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 19, 20 and 21. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. at Hood River Middle School’s auditorium.

Fake obit causes a different kind of grief

A woman came in, distraught, with two family members last week, asking to put in an obituary. As the person who handles obituaries at the News, this is something that happens occasionally, and is always a sad job.