Small Portland Catholic School Back to In-Person Sessions

Credit: Cathedral School | 5th grade Cathedral School student

PORTLAND, Ore. — As more school districts across Oregon figure out plans to bring more kids into the classroom, there are some schools that have already brought students back for full-time in-person learning.

Many larger districts in the state have complicated decisions to make when it comes to how to safely offer limited in-person instruction for students.

But for some smaller schools, like Cathedral School in Northwest Portland, the transition has been a little easier.

“We are opening up, but it’s going to be far from business as usual,” said Amy Biggs. She’s the principal at Cathedral School, a private Catholic school serving kids in Pre-Kindergarten to eighth grade who are now in class for full-day, in-person learning.

“We have everyone here Pre-K through eighth grade that has chosen to come. We still have a distance learning option for our kids at home,” said Biggs.

She said 81% of the 260 students enrolled are choosing to attend in person.

In the fall, teachers taught kids online from their classrooms. The school soon brought back its youngest kids for limited in-person instruction. The majority of those kids were already participating in the school’s daycare program and were familiar with the school’s COVID-19 safety protocols, which made the transition to full in-person learning easier.

This week, middle school students joined younger students, coming back for full-day, in-person school.

Biggs said the size of the school along with the state’s revised guidelines and metrics have been crucial to reopening.

“Small schools like Cathedral School, 260 kids, 30 or fewer staff members, we can do things in a safe way because of our size and we don’t bus. We have one class at every grade, so it’s really appreciated because the revisions have helped us open up.”

Biggs said a number of safety measures are in place.

“We are using three different entrances to the building rather than one entrance […] we’re taking everyone’s temperatures. We’ve got contact tracing where we’re recording everyone who drops the kids off and who picks them up,” said Biggs.

They’ve also got shields on students’ desks, which they’ve tried to space apart.

“We have places where they’re not quite six feet, but I’ve got the 35 square feet in the whole room and then the distance between kids is maximum extent possible,” Biggs said. “We’re adhering to all ODE [Oregon Department of Education] standards.”

Biggs said right now in their middle school classrooms, there are between 21-25 kids in the room.

Students have to wear masks too, something Biggs initially thought might be an issue.

“Our kids that have been home are so excited to be back at school that all of our safety precautions, they are willing to do and they are really good at policing each other. It hasn’t been a problem at all. They’re used to wearing a mask. They’re used to hand sanitizer,” said Biggs.

The only time those masks come off is during lunch. Students stay at the same desk all day while teachers of different subjects rotate in and out.

For bathroom breaks, groups of kids go at designated times.

“Every hour one of my staff members is going through the bathrooms and spraying them all down with the electrostatic cleaning sprayer,” Biggs said.

Kids are grouped together into cohorts for recess as well.

Beth Sanchez has two children who attend Cathedral School, one in kindergarten and the other in sixth grade. She is excited her kids get to go back to in-person learning.

“We’re ecstatic really. We’re hoping that all the schools can get there. I think it’s so super important for kids to be in person,” said Sanchez.

She said while her sixth-grade son was doing well with online learning, she became concerned about the lack of socialization with peers.

“They need to have that interpersonal connection,” Sanchez said.

She said her son told her there were a lot of rules to follow. With this being his first week back, Sanchez said her son is figuring out what he can and can’t do.

She expressed confidence in the school and Biggs.

Biggs said before kids even came back, she asked parents to be partners and to talk to their kids about what to expect.

“Let them know ahead of time, you’re not going to get up and walk around the classroom,” said Biggs.

“I can’t have them all sitting on the top of the slide in a big pile like the eighth-grade girls love to do.”

She said she’s continuing to ask families to keep social distancing and wearing masks.

You can find the source article here.

Portland Groups to Celebrate MLK Jr. with a Day of Service

FILE – In this 1960, file photo, Martin Luther King Jr. speaks in Atlanta. (AP Photo, File)

Local organizations and volunteers plan to help clean up Portland this Monday, Jan. 18, as part of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

SOLVE, the Portland Business Alliance, and the Portland Lodging Alliance will all be out cleaning different areas of the city. Volunteers can meet at four locations: the Benson Hotel, Providence Park, Northwest Academy, and Urbanite. Check-in goes from 8:45 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.

Volunteers will be provided with cleaning supplies, as well as safety information, before fanning out to clean along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and other areas of the city.

The event is part of SOLVE’s monthly efforts to clean up the Rose City. More information about the non-profit, including how to register for Monday’s event, can be found online.

All spots are filled up right now, but you can still put your name on the waiting list.

The Sunshine Division is partnering with Kaiser Permanente to provide 90,000 meals in honor of Martin Luther King Day. While the group has suspended all volunteer work due to the coronavirus pandemic, they do have more information on volunteering as opportunities arise on their website.

Boxes will be handed out between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday. To receive a box, you can visit one of the Sunshine Division’s food pantries:

  • 687 N Thompson St, Portland, OR 97227
  • 221 NE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97230

Some groups, like the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, decided to postpone their annual ‘day of service’ events to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Italian Food is Made With Love

It’s the truth, Italian food always feels like it’s made with love.  I believe it’s because you’re reminded of an Italian Nona who has spent all Sunday making the sauce, and preparing tasty dishes for the family to enjoy.  Maybe that’s why I love Italian food so much, and have missed it over the past 6 years since my Celiac Diagnosis.

If you are a lover of Italian Food then you are going to want to try this week’s featured business of the week Decarli located in Beaverton.  Keep in mind, that like many businesses COVID and the restrictions put in place by Governor Brown they have been closed for a bit, and are slated to re-open on February 3rd, which means you’ll have to wait a few more weeks before enjoying their food.  However, while you wait why not hear a little bit about Decarli and it’s owners Paul and Jana.

Jana is a native Oregonian who graduated from U of O, while Paul is a long time Oregonian who graduated from the Western Culinary Institute.  One of the fabulous things about Decarli is that they enjoy using seasonal ingredients that can be found throughout the state to create amazing dishes.  Paul’s culinary influence comes from his Swiss/Italian-American heritage to create unique food that is both rustic and sophisticated.

If  you are looking to dine somewhere that has a fabulous ambiance look know further than Decarli.  Paul and Han have worked hard to create a warm, authentic environment in their 4000 square foot space.  The restaurant features Doug Fir floors, exposed brick walls, tall beams and rafters that are accentuated by an amazing skylight, and you cannot forget the amazing brass chandelier hanging in their dining room which was salvaged from the historic Benson Hotel in Downtown Portland.

Decarli is the perfect spot for date night or girls night out with the open kitchen that overlooks the bar area that will keep you feeling at home.  Please be sure to support them on Takeout Tuesday when they reopen on February 3rd






My Copy of  January 2021 Graphics  copy


Portland Trail Blazers…Breaking Through for the Win at Sacramento

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, gets some help getting up from teammates Robert Covington, left, and Derrick Jones Jr., right, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) AP

 Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum had an interesting perspective on the way the team rallied from down 20 in the second quarter at Sacramento to trail by three and then went down 19 in the third quarter only to come all the way back to win, 132-126 Wednesday night.

“Honestly, I don’t know what’s more impressive,” McCollum said. “Coming back from 20 twice or going down 20 twice.”

He had a point.

It’s not often that a basketball team at any level digs such a hole twice in one game and still wins. But the Blazers (7-4) had three things going for them at the Garden 1 Center.

First, Damian Lillard had a special night. He became the first player in NBA history to have at least 40 points and 13 assists with zero turnovers. Secondly, the Kings (5-7) played at a dizzying pace that both led to their big leads and contributed to their downfall.

And finally, the Blazers simply didn’t quit.

“I think it says a lot about our character as a team and what we’re becoming,” Lillard said. “I think we’ve always been that team that didn’t lose fight. We’ve always stayed in it and fought to the end. But I think we’re a little bit more experienced now. We brought in some experienced guys.”

The Kings were scorching hot early while building a 58-38 lead with 7:20 remaining in the second quarter. However, McCollum said the Blazers didn’t truly feel like they were down 20 points because the game moved at a fast pace and possessions were piling up.

“You just kind of understand you need to string together stops.” McCollum said. “Offensively, we were in good shape.”

Stringing together stops didn’t seem possible in that moment. The Kings were on pace to score 198 points. Sacramento guard Buddy Hield, who finished with 26 points, was seemingly in a zone. Right there with him was point guard De’Aaron Fox, who finished with 29 points.

“They’re athletic, they know how to play, they got shooters,” McCollum said. “They got scorers…They’re a talented team.”

Down 20, it was in that moment when the team dipped into its bag of trust. Lillard said the team trusted the changes made on defense during training camp. Trusted the offense. Trusted one another. They didn’t splinter and go their own ways.

“We stayed together and we fought,” Lillard said.

Portland figured things out and cut its deficit to 68-65 at halftime. That was the good news. The bad news was that center Jusuf Nurkic picked up three personal fouls within three minutes late in the second quarter.

His fourth foul came on an offensive charge at 10:43 in the third quarter with Portland down 72-68. Portland coach Terry Stotts took Nurkic out of the game at 9:01.

“I was mad when coach pulled me out in the third quarter…,” Nurkic said. “I didn’t want to go down 20 again.”

Two minutes and 46 seconds later, Portland trailed 94-75.

At that point, the game could have easily gone further south. The Blazers were on the road. The Kings were rolling. Nurkic was in foul trouble. It was the first of a back-to-back with Indiana (7-4) up next at home Thursday night.

But because the Blazers had already come back once, according to McCollum, they believed they could do it again.

“It’s just about getting stops, getting easy baskets and then just a testament to us kind of staying together.” McCollum said.

Portland chipped away at the Kings’ lead until the Blazers trailed just 105-100 entering the fourth quarter.

“More than anything else, I like the way we fought back after things weren’t going our way in the third quarter,” Stotts said.

The Blazers and Kings went back and forth until the score sat at 117-116, Kings with 5:55 remaining.

That, Lillard said, is when the Blazers found their final push.

“At that point, I think our experience and our resolve really showed,” Lillard said.

McCollum hit a three on an assist from Lillard to give Portland a 119-117 lead and the Blazers never trailed again. The Blazers did allow a 127-120 lead with 3:20 remaining become 128-126 lead with 42.3 seconds on the clock.

But Lillard scored on a drive to the basket and the Kings missed their final three shots.

“We made plays on both ends of the floor to win the game and I think that the pace that they play at gave us the opportunity to do that,” Lillard said.

The Blazers felt good about walking away with the win, of course, but doing it by overcoming multiple bouts with adversity showed that this team could figure things out even in the most trying of circumstances.

Still, Nurkic didn’t appear eager to go through that experience again.

“I hope we don’t need that no more,” Nurkic said.


The original article can be found here.

A Distant Galaxy Dies as Astronomers Watch

Credits: Laurent Chemin for Gaia DPAC and Collaboration
Credits: Laurent Chemin for Gaia DPAC and Collaboration

(CNN) Galaxies die when the stars that live in them stop forming. Now, for the first time, astronomers have witnessed this phenomenon in a distant galaxy.

Scientists were able to glimpse a galaxy as it ejected almost half of the gas it uses to form stars. They captured this rare observation using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array of telescopes in Chile.

The light from this galaxy, known as ID2299, has taken about nine billion years to reach Earth. That means astronomers are essentially observing how it appeared when the universe was only 4.5 billion years old (it’s now an estimated 14 billion years old).

The ID2299 galaxy is losing 10,000 suns-worth of gas per year, which is diminishing the fuel it needs to form stars by removing 46% of the galaxy’s total cold gas so far.

But the galaxy is still quickly forming stars at a rate that is hundreds of times faster than our own Milky Way, which will use up the rest of the gas in the galaxy. This will effectively cause ID2299 to die in a few tens of million years.

The study published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy.

“This is the first time we have observed a typical massive star-forming galaxy in the distant Universe about to ‘die’ because of a massive cold gas ejection,” said Annagrazia Puglisi, lead study researcher and postdoctoral research associate from Durham University in the UK and the Saclay Nuclear Research Centre in France, in a statement.

A possible collision

It’s possible that this galaxy’s demise was caused by a collision with another galaxy, which eventually merged to create ID2299.

The telling evidence that a collision may have led to a loss of gas is a tidal tail, which is a long stream of gas and stars that extend out into space after two galaxies come together in a collision.

Typically, these tidal tails are too faint to be seen in such distant galaxies, but the astronomers were able to observe the bright tail as it was extending out into space.

If a merger led to this galaxy’s loss of gas, astronomers may need to reconsider theories on the end of star formation in galaxies. Previously, scientists have believed that the winds created by the formation of stars, combined with active black holes at the centers of giant galaxies, sent the material needed to form stars hurtling out into space and ending star formation.

“Our study suggests that gas ejections can be produced by mergers and that winds and tidal tails can appear very similar,” said Emanuele Daddi, study coauthor and astronomer at the Saclay Nuclear Research Centre in France. “This might lead us to revise our understanding of how galaxies ‘die.’ ”

Perhaps the best part about this discovery is that it was made while the astronomers were working on a different survey of cold gas in distant galaxies. They only observed ID2299 for a few minutes, but it was enough to capture the tidal tail.

Future observations of the galaxy could reveal more about the gas being ejected from the galaxy.

“ALMA has shed new light on the mechanisms that can halt the formation of stars in distant galaxies. Witnessing such a massive disruption event adds an important piece to the complex puzzle of galaxy evolution,” said Chiara Circosta, study coauthor and researcher at the University College London, in a statement.

The original story can be found here.

Who Doesn’t Love A Good Burger?

My Copy of  January 2021 Graphics  copyLiving in Hillsboro you have probably heard of The Helvetia Tavern.  It’s this quaint burger joint right beyond the train tressels, and it’s one of those places that you go to when you’re looking for that relaxed country atmosphere, and honestly my kids love this place.

This family owned business has been around since 1946, and truly is a landmark in the Hillsboro area.  Let’s be honest, there aren’t a whole lot of restaurants that can say they’ve been around for 75 years, and continue to have a raving fan base.

The Helvetia Tavern is known for their burgers and fries – which are hand cut!  I mean how can you go wrong with hand cut fries, as well fresh ground beef burgers.  In addition to the amazing burgers and fries, they’ve got veggie burgers, onion rings, fish and chips – basically it is the local bar that you go to for an amazing burger.  PS:  They’ve got gluten free buns so you know my family is happy about that.

One of the things I love seeing since COVID hit is that you can drive by the the tavern and see families sitting outside with the back of the SUV open with a card table and chairs enjoying their take out.  If you are looking for a great Tuesday Takeout place please support this amazing local biz so they can be around for another 75 years.

How COVID-19 is Re-shaping Health Benefits in 2021

FamilyThe challenges of 2020 have sharpened our focus on health as never before. From the daunting COVID-19 pandemic to the destructive wildfire season, Oregon businesses and their employees have been tested in their capacity to thrive. Even before the pandemic, the health care experience could be overwhelming. Now it’s even harder to decide when and where to get care – while still managing costs. With the resurgence of COVID-19 and winter ahead, in-person care will be more challenging than ever. The impact of months of anxiety and isolation continues to make mental health an even greater concern. There’s no better time for a new solution to provide Oregonians tools and support to manage their health and well-being.

Simplifying health care’s complexity

The realities of our complex health care system have impacted so many employees and their families. It is particularly difficult for those who are responsible for managing the care of others, perhaps tending to the needs of an older family member or someone with a challenging health condition. There is considerable self-education required – learning about specific health issues, assessing treatment options and keeping track of prescriptions. It is common to need a variety of tools such as spreadsheets to track deductibles, copays and out-of-pocket costs and complex calendars for appointments with multiple providers.

Journi is a health care company based in Oregon that is making the total health care experience better. Journi brings together self-service tools, clinical expertise and human support to help manage a family’s health care needs – all in one place. In addition to digital tools, Journi Care Guides are ready to answer your health care questions and to help with everything from researching drug costs to scheduling appointments with the right provider for you.

“It’s why I chose to work for Journi,” says Coleen Carey, vice president of sales and marketing. “Journi relieves some of the hassle of managing our health care so I can focus more on my work and my family.” Carey adds, “I understand the realities of navigating a complex health care system as I manage care for my 14 year old daughter who experiences disability.” Like many, Carey is a part of the ‘sandwich generation,’ caring for both parent and child. “Journi helps me manage our health history, providers, medications and more in one place to keep things organized in a system that can seem overwhelming.”

Addressing health care access in a mobile-first world

A digital approach has become key to helping employees get the most from their health benefits, especially during the pandemic. They are accustomed to using apps to pay bills, deposit checks, and buy groceries right from their phones. In fact, they have readily embraced telehealth during the pandemic for doctor visits and mental and behavioral health support. It’s a trend expected to keep growing. In May 2020, McKinsey found that 76 percent of consumers say they will likely use telehealth going forward.

Available as a mobile app and connected to employer-sponsored health insurance, Journi provides convenient self-service tools and real-time access to clinical experts with concierge support that meets employees where they are in their health care needs continuum – all in a one-stop solution.

Making the human connection

Employees expect a digital experience to provide self-service convenience on-demand. Journi goes a step further, offering Care Guides who can connect the dots of health care. These support specialists can help with frustrating and often time-consuming tasks, such as finding in-network doctors and scheduling appointments or resolving questions about billing. If needed, they can also connect employees with a nurse or health coach via video, phone or email. It’s like having a personal health care assistant on call.

A healthier, more productive workforce in 2021

This year has taught us hard lessons: We’ve learned that health care innovation is no longer just “nice to have,” but critical to business success. And offering benefits for the whole person is the first step in meeting the day-to-day health needs of employees, families and communities. With comprehensive digital solutions like Journi, employees will be more engaged in their health care – boosting productivity and reducing costs for employers. And after the year we’ve had, that’s good news for all Oregonians.

The source of this article can be found here.

After a COVID Year, the Housing Market Continues to Favor the Seller

by Keely McCormick and Staff

LANE COUNTY, Ore. — Heading into the new year, the housing market continues to see low supply and high demand, and like many aspects of life in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic was a factor.

Inventory is extremely tight right now and is expected to stay that way throughout 2021. We spoke to one woman who just went through the home buying process, and she said she was lucky to find one.

“During the wildfires, the landlords decided to sell and they didn’t give us much time,” said Samora Walker, a recent home buyer.

Anya Samora Walker and her family had to find a home to buy in 6 short weeks, which is hard to do in this housing market.

“It’s been challenging, I have friends that have been looking for 2 years that haven’t found what fits there needs because houses are going thousands over the asking price,” Walker said.

And those prices will continue rising in the new year.

“It’s so competitive that you’ll get 5 to 10 offers on any given home and people just driving that price up,” said Robert Grand, the CEO of Grand Real Estate Investments.

Inventory initially dropped when the pandemic hit because people started to stay home rather than sell their homes, so when we’re used to seeing an influx of homes for sale in spring. 2020 didn’t have that.

This big new development is not a common site in Lane County. The reason for the high home prices is because of low inventory and limited land to build on.

“Here in Lane County and other parts of Oregon, there’s a lot of terrain and stuff like that so it’s not as easy to sprawl out,” said Grand.

But the demand for homes here is still high, as an influx of people are wanting to come live in Oregon.

Homes here are only on the market for an average of 33 days, but that depends on the home. Grand said an entry-level house priced around $350,000 may be on the market for only 4 to 5 days.

The median sale price for a home in Lane County increased 13.6 percent from 2019 to 2020. Grand said he’s expecting to see a similar trend in 2021.

Now the next big question is if we will see a lot of foreclosures because of the pandemic’s effect on the economy.

Even if we do see that happen, Grand said it would take a major influx to shift the housing market in the new year.

The source of the article can be found here.

Welcome Back Venetian!

My Copy of  January 2021 Graphics  copyAs a mom to adult children one of the things I truly love is being able to go out to dinner either by myself, with my husband or with my friends – not that I’ve been doing a lot of that these days.  One of the reasons I love it so much is because restaurants aren’t chosen based of  of the kids menu.  If you have littles you know what I’m talking about – if the restaurant doesn’t have some sort of chicken nugget or mini-corn dogs on the menu it is out.  It is for this exact reason that I am beyond excited that The Venetian is back open again in Hillsboro.

In April of 2020 this beautiful building that has been vacant for several years found new owners with the team at NW Events & Environments.  I absolutely have to give props to this amazing group of humans who took the chance in the middle of COVID to create/revamp a former business and event space given all the restrictions that are in place.  It takes a lot of faith and it is my hope that the Hillsboro Community will rally around these humans to help them out because I know that when everything is over, and we can attend events again that The Venetian is going to be the perfect space.

However, while we wait for that to happen you can still support them through their take out menu.  I personally am a big fan of TakeOut Tuesday due to my lack of cooking skills so any excuse to get something tasty and help our community I’m all for especially if it means something different.  For example the Venetian Burger isn’t your normal cheeseburger because they put chili candied bacon on it.   In addition, if you love fries like I do they have certainly upped the fry game with truffle and sea salt fries, pork fat and tarragon fries, or duck fat and rosemary fries (yes they do have regular fries too).

So, if you’re looking to do a girls night in, date night in or just don’t feel like cooking please order some take out from The Venetian.

Can ‘Vaccine Passports’ Be Required to Do Everyday Things?

Syracuse breaks the on campus attendance record with 35,642 fans watching the Orange take on Duke at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY, Saturday February 23, 2019. Scott Schild | sschild@syracuse.comScott Schild | sschild@syracuse.

Jumping on a plane to a far-away beach, cheering on your favorite team or going on a shopping spree might seem like the perfect antidote to a brutal year.

But be prepared to get vaccinated before you do any of those things – proof of a Covid-19 vaccine may be required to take part in many leisure activities next year.

Ticketmaster, for example, recently warned that event organizers might require a vaccination before buying a ticket (the ticket giant won’t require proof on its own). Airlines are creating a potential “digital Covid-19 vaccine passport” for travelers. Cruise operators are looking into that, too.

And that’s completely legal.

In essence, a private business can decide who to allow on private property, whether that be an airplane, a sports arena, or a mall. And there’s no legal protection for those who refuse to get vaccinated and want to patronize a private business. (That’s aside from government mandates, which are not addressed here.)

Just like businesses can make you wear a mask, they can also require you show proof of vaccination, said Stewart Schwab, a professor of law at Cornell University. It’s the same legal right businesses have, for example, to refuse service to someone without a shirt or shoes.

There are really only two exceptions to the rule: people with a documented medical condition that makes them unable to take a vaccine, and those with a sincere religious belief against vaccines, Schwab said.

In either case, the burden is on you to show why you are unable to take the vaccine, Schwab said.

Of course, just because it’s legal to require a vaccine doesn’t mean that businesses will.

Due to the nature of flying, proof of a vaccine might be required sooner than other activities, according to industry experts.

But it’s much harder to police a vaccine mandate at a mall or inside a big-box store, Schwab noted.

There’s talk of a vaccine passport or card that people can carry around as proof. But what if someone says they have a medical disability or a religious exemption?

Sorting out those types of headaches might be more trouble than it’s worth for most retailers, Schwab suggested. Businesses might be more willing – especially at the beginning of the vaccine roll-out – to continue their facemask and social-distancing mandates that have become commonplace to this point.

At the end of the day, though, a customer is there at the permission of a private business.

“You gotta wear a mask to come into a store,” Schwab noted. “I think that’s basically well-accepted. Once they can do that, what’s the difference with a vaccine?”