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Sweet Home, Oregon
March 28, 2012     The New Era Paper
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March 28, 2012

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1t T ra - March 28, 2012 VOU! COMMUNITY Page 5 OSU to host college, pro western logging qualifier Oregon State University will host the Western Qualifier for the Stihl Timbersports Series on Fri- day, March 30, featuring some of the top collegiate and professional lumberjack competitors in the western United States. Winners of the professional and collegiate competitions will advance to the U.S. Championships in Pigeon Forge,Tenn., June 1-3. The Outdoor Channel, ESPN- U and TUFF-TV cameras will be on the OSU campus to film the West- ern Qualifier. Schedule details are available at http://www.stihltim- bersports.us. The full airing sched- ule for the Western Qualifier can be viewed at www.stihltimbersports. us/2012-resource-guide.aspx. The event, part of the 73nd an- nual Association of Western For- estry Clubs conclave, will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday at OSU's McAI- exander Field House (1800 S.W. Jefferson Way, Corvallis). The conclave takes place during Spring Break, at Peavy Arboretum in Cor- vallis, beginning March 28. "Last year's top four western professionals went on to win the 2011 U.S. Relay Championship, and we anticipate seeing the tal- ent these athletes will bring to the competition this year," said Brad Sorgen, producer of the Stihl Tim- bersports Series. In the Collegiate Series, the participating universities select their best lumberjacks or jills to chop and saw in four disciplines inclading the single buck, standing block chop, stock saw and under- hand chop, using professional-sized wood and rules. After competing in each of the disciplines, the competitors with the most cumulative points earns a $1,000 scholarship from Stihl for their school and advances to the 2012 Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Championship. Thirteen schools will partici- pate in the qualifier including Colo- rado State University, University of Montana, and Humboldt State University. "We are honored to host the 2012 Stihl Timbersports Series western qualifier here at Oregon State as part of the annual West- ern Forestry Clubs conclave," said John Mann, director of college forests for the OSU College of Forestry. "I am very proud of the leadership skills our students have demonstrated in preparation of this high profile event." Following the Collegiate Western Qualifier, the region's top professional lumberjack athletes will race the clock and each other through six traditional categories - the hot saw, single buck, spring- board chop, standing block chop, stock saw and underhand chop. The competitors are contending for one of four coveted U.S. Championship slots. Oregon native and long-time competitor Mike Forrester, from Glide, will be among the eight professional lumberjacks to com- pete in the qualifier. Another Or- egon professional competitor is art teacher and arborist Jeff Skirvin from Clatskanie. The top four pros from each re- gional qualifier advance to the Stihl Timbersports Championship where they will compete for the national title, a brand new Ram 1500 truck and the opportunity to represent the United States in the Stihl Tim- bersports World Championship in Lillehammer, Norway, Sept. 8-9. Additional pros will be select- ed by officials to represent the U.S. in the World Championship Relay Competition. II Railroad From page 1 Center, was hosted by Mark Rus- sell, general manager of Albany and Eastern, and Ginny Wood, operations manager. About 40 people attended. The company's 70 miles of rails have been neglected for about 50 years, Russell said. The project goal is to raise the Federal Railroad Administration classification of the rails to level two. Right now, parts of the rails fall below the lowest classification. Speeds are limited in some places to as low as 3 mph. When complete, the track will al- low speeds of up to 25 mph. The project is largely funded through a Connect Oregon III grant through the Oregon Department of Transportation using Oregon Lot- tery dollars. The state will pay for- approximately $2.6 million out of the $4 million estimated cost. It will replace ties and crossings. The A&E has already completed work between Albany and Leba- non and Lebanon and Mill City. The railroad company also will remove brush and trees from the railroad right-of-way to "in- crease visibility so cars can see the trains, and the train crews can see the cars," Russell said. The work will begin when weather allows and likely contin- ue into the fall. "We actually started rebuild- ing these rails just after we pur- chased it," Russell said. Rick and Bernice Franklin purchased it in 2007. The main reason for the work is public safety and operational safety, Russell said, but he said his company is eager to see the rail- road contribute to the economy in Sweet Home. "There's been a perception that, in Sweet Home, the railroad is going to go away," Russell said. "It's not." Sweet Home has no shippers using the railroad right now, he said. The closest shipper is four miles west of Sweet Home, but A&E officials are hoping that an improved railroad will help drive economic development. "We live here," Russell said. "We work here. We care about this community. We are trying to do what we can to raise the interest of industry to move to this area. We need jobs." The community has the nuts and bolts it needs for industry, Russell said. "We just need to get the industry here." The main purpose for the meeting was to let property own- ers along the rails know that A&E intends to be good neighbors and to let the public know how the project will impact the public, he said. As the project approaches each crossing, the railroad will provide 14 days advance notice, Russell said. The crossings will be closed a couple of days at a time, and it will require significant reroutes on Pleasant Valley and Clark Mill roads. Property owners along the right-of-way generally pay an an- nual fee for a crossing permit. Some of them have agree- ments with Burlington Northern- Sante Fe Railroad, which owned the rails until the late 1990s. Some of them have even made payments as late as 2011, Russell said. He said questions regard- ing the $600 fee are still being resolved. A letter outlining the permit requirements with A&E, including a $600 permit transfer fee as well as a $1 million insur- ance policy, was was written and mailed prior to A&E having all of the information it needs about existing permits, Russell said. The railroad has a request in to BNSF and property owners for permit information, so it can work out permits. Photo by Sean C. Morgan Mark Russell, general manager of Albany and Eastern Railroad, discusses plans with neighbors and members of the public. Property owners asked for more details about the costs and insurance, but Russell said they'll need to look at the permits indi- vidually. "I don't have that kind of money," one property owner told the railroad officials at the meet- ing. It isn't clear whether the rail- road will charge property owners with existing permits the $600 fee, Wood said. That will be worked out after the company gathers all of the information it can from the Federal Railroad Administration and gathers all of the information it can about existing permits. Linda Rowton Linda Rowton volunteers as a driver with Meals on Wheels. She is the Manna Free Meal co-coor- dinator and Friday night Manna cook. She is co-chair of Nuts for Jesus and is actively involved with the Sweet Home United Method- ist Church, where she is treasurer, part:time office staff. She a Leba- Community Chorus board member and choir par- /\\;, ticipant and a member of a small vocal group with the Lebanon Community Orchestra. She is a choir partici- pant in the Willamette Valley Sacred Choral Festival. "When I retired from my 'paid' job, l knew that my ability to financially support the charities and proj- ects that I believed in was going to diminish," Rowton said. "I made a promise to myself that I would make up for that by donating my time. Now my "thythe" of. 1 I ./time is way above 10 percent, but the returns I receive ] | V'are immeasurable. Interacting with people is a bless- ing. Being able to watch a person change from a scared, )' non-speaking individual into a laughing, sharing per- son is a joy beyond words."