10 years ago this week — 2009

Among those from the North Coast traveling to President Barack Obama’s inauguration will be Matt Winters, editor of the Chinook Observer in Long Beach, Wash., sister paper to The Daily Astorian.

Before he departed, he was asked about his excitement level for the trip.

“Getting to tell my 11-year-old she had a ticket to see this wildly historic event was one of the highlights of my life,” Winters said. “Being there to hear this good man speak the sacred words of the oath of office will reverberate through her life.

The logistics of going have been absolutely awful, but evaporate into nothing compared to the privilege and potency of the experience.”

As a former smoker, Janine Pickering can see both sides of Oregon’s expanded Smokefree Workplace Law, which took effect Jan. 1.

The Labor Temple bartender said the law has probably cut down on her bar’s business and makes more work for her because she has to keep track of customers entering and leaving the bar with drinks in-hand.

The law bans smoking in taverns, among other places, and requires smokers to stand 10 feet from the entrances, exits, open windows and ventilation intakes.

After seven happy boom years, the Pacific sardine fishery appears to be going bust.

Coming off a record year in 2007, the coastwide catch limit for sardines dropped from 152,654 metric tons to 80,184 last year, cutting fishing seasons extremely short and knocking down income for nearly a dozen processors and two dozen fishing boats in the Columbia River area.

Now it looks like 2009 will be even worse, with only 59,232 metric tons of sardines available for harvest.

50 years ago — 1969

A cautious optimism seems to be the general attitude on the part of Clatsop County leaders toward the area economy in the new year.

“The year 1969 looks very bright,” said Cannon Beach Mayor Gerald Gower.

Most officials interviewed recently felt that construction and general activity in 1968 gave hope for a healthy 1969.

Activities of Astoria Plywood Corp. will not be curtailed because of a strike by members of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International union, a company spokesman said Monday.

Several plants in the southern part of the state reportedly were unable to operate due to the strike, which shut off supplies of natural gas.

“We generate our own steam right here in the plant,” the spokesman said, “and have no need for outside fuel.”

Widespread closure of Clatsop County schools followed Wednesday in the wake of a storm which dumped tons of snow on highways and outlying roads.

The Port of Astoria was honored this week as the site of a coming-out party for a new Japanese log and lumber ship, the Seine Maru, now on its maiden voyage.

The 505-foot-long vessel put in Saturday at Astoria for logs after a two-week trip from Hiroshima. She’s to depart this week for Vancouver, B.C., and then sail for Shimizu, Japan.

Bill Hoag, owner and operator of the Astoria city transit system, said Thursday he’s just about ready to ask the city if it wants to take over the system, which he’s operated for five years.

Hoag, 60, said the transit system’s insurance and tax payments and cost of parts had risen so high that he can’t feasibly operate the service much longer. He said he pays $138 a month insurance on one bus.

75 years ago — 1944

Two medium-sized navy planes operating from the Clatsop airport collided in the air Thursday almost directly over the mouth of the Columbia River, and one pilot parachuted from his spinning plane into the sea, while the other miraculously brought his battered plane safely home.

The flier forced to bail out is still missing.

The streets of Astoria’s residential districts will be literally lined with tin Saturday morning as household tin can collections wait for pickup trucks to take them to the railroad gondola which will carry them to a salvage center.

Pre-Pearl Harbor fathers are now being taken from Clatsop County for induction into the armed forces, according to Leif Halsan, of the local selective service office.

Fathers were included in draft lists of the county in “numbers fit to mention” for the first time in the December induction call. Halsan said that the local board has now “really begun” to call fathers whose occupations are considered non-essential.

“The only thing which can at all forestall widespread drafting of fathers is a large increase in the enlistment of women in the armed forces,” Halsan said.

Mrs. Merle Chessman, wife of the publisher of the Astorian-Budget, narrowly escaped serious burns and possible death in a freak fire at their home, 526 Grand Avenue, at noon today, according to Wayne Osterby, fire chief.

Mrs. Chessman was applying a cleaning fluid to her kitchen floor, when suddenly the entire floor was enveloped in flames, apparently starting when fumes of the fluid came in contact with a blaze in an incinerator attached to her gas stove.

With a broom Mrs. Chessman attempted to beat out the fire, which was spreading to the floor of the hallway of the home. Unsuccessful, she called the firefighters, who arrived in time to check the blaze before serious damage occurred.

Bob Duke is the author of the weekly Water Under the Bridge column in The Astorian. Contact him at beachduke@gmail.com

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