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Of Cabbages and Kings: A summer to remember

Seeing a man sitting in a chair on his roof is an unexpected delight of summer in Astoria.

The outsider would say that Astoria is not celebrated for its summers, only its winters. But this has been a great summer.

When friends came to town last week, we took them to Bridgewater Bistro for dinner. Tony Kischner’s servers were in overdrive handling the capacity crowd.

Yes, Buoy 10 is here.

On Sunday we walked to the Astoria Column with a Portland visitor. As we walked up Miller Lane, we looked up to see a young man sitting in a chair on the peak of his roof. Aware of our amazement, he waved. Just another delightful element that makes Astoria special.

Were you as astonished as I was to see the defunct and moldering former dry cleaners building on Marine Drive come down? For years the hapless building had begged for someone to put it out of its misery.

While I like to read, my batting average of finishing books is low. Last Sunday I finished Gary Kamiya’s Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco. Kamiya has walked all over that city. He gives us a pedestrian’s eye view of the city by the bay – also a historian’s and a geologist’s perspective.

I especially enjoyed his chapter on the San Francisco Chronicle’s columnist Herb Caen, whose daily newspaper column captured the essence of the cosmopolitan West Coast city while also epitomizing a kind of chatty journalism that was the precursor of the blog.

If you like San Francisco on any level, you will enjoy Kamiya’s book

Newspapers like ours operate on the premise that local news trumps national news. We assume our readers are more interested in our publishing news about their towns than about the man in the White House.

Thus I am surprised when readers become obsessed with our editorial page stance on President Obama and have virtually nothing to say about local happenings. Last week a frequent correspondent brought me an envelope with an article from a Montana newspaper that disavowed its endorsement of Obama.

Every six months I receive an email from a local part-time educator. He disparages our editorial page over Obama. The man resists any invitation to have a face-to-face conversation.

In the more than 10 years that our newspaper took the lead in creating the campaign to restore the Liberty Theater, I heard from none of these guys.

Building community is what a local newspaper is about. I begrudge no one their antipathy for President Obama. But the occupant of the White House has little if anything to do with paving our city streets or creating civic amenities that make life in our towns better.

The current issue of Science Findings contains useful research about salmon and stream temperature. The scientists Ashley Steel and Brian Beckman find the “Early Chinook salmon life stages can be altered – with potential long-term biological and ecological consequences.” The article can be found at this website: www.fed.fs.us/pnw/publications/scifi/shtml

— S.A.F.

Newspapers like our operate on the premise that local news trumps national news.



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